Preferred instantaneous vacuum for linear scalar fields in cosmological space-times

Ivan Agullo, William Nelson, Abhay Ashtekar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


We discuss the problem of defining a preferred vacuum state at a given time for a quantized scalar field in Friedmann, Lemaître, Robertson, Walker space-time. Among the infinitely many homogeneous, isotropic vacua available in the theory, we show that there exists at most one for which every Fourier mode makes a vanishing contribution to the adiabatically renormalized energy-momentum tensor at any given instant. For massive fields such a state exists in the most commonly used backgrounds in cosmology and, within the adiabatic regularization scheme, provides a natural candidate for the "ground state" at that instant of time. The extension to the massless and the conformally coupled case are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number064051
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 23 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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