Breakdown of semiclassical methods in de Sitter space

C. P. Burgess, R. Holman, L. Leblond, S. Shandera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Massless interacting scalar fields in de Sitter space have long been known to experience large fluctuations over length scales larger than Hubble distances. A similar situation arises in condensed matter physics in the vicinity of a critical point, and in this betterunderstood situation these large fluctuations indicate the failure in this regime of mean-field methods. We argue that for non-Goldstone scalars in de Sitter space, these fluctuations can also be interpreted as signaling the complete breakdown of the semi-classical methods widely used throughout cosmology. By power-counting the infrared properties of Feynman graphs in de Sitter space we find that for a massive scalar interacting through a A λφ4 interaction, control over the loop approximation is lost for masses smaller than m ≃√λH/2φ, where H is the Hubble scale. We briefly discuss some potential implications for inflationary cosmology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number017
JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


Dive into the research topics of 'Breakdown of semiclassical methods in de Sitter space'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this