Axions from String Theory and Inflation

Katie Mack

Princeton University

The QCD axion is the leading contender to rid the standard model of the strong-CP problem. If the Peccei-Quinn symmetry breaking occurs before inflation, which is likely in string theory models, axions manifest themselves cosmologically as a form of cold dark matter with a density determined by the axion's initial conditions and by the energy scale of inflation. Constraints on the dark matter density and on the amplitude of CMB isocurvature perturbations currently demand an exponential degree of fine-tuning of both axion and inflationary parameters beyond what is required for particle physics. String theory models generally produce large numbers of axion-like fields; the prospect that any of these fields exist at scales close to that of the QCD axion makes the problem drastically worse. I will discuss the challenge of accommodating string-theoretic axions in standard inflationary cosmology and show that the fine-tuning problems cannot be fully addressed by anthropic principle arguments.

Date: Thursday, 15 January 2009
Time: 14:00
Where: McGill University
  Ernest Rutherford Physics Building, R.E. Bell Conference Room (room 103)