The evolution of scalar fields and inflationary cosmology
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The thermal restoration of symmetry in Grand Unified Field Theories with Coleman-Weinberg symmetry breaking is considered. A concise rederivation of the high temperature approximation to the one loop effective potential is given and the critical temperature for the transition is then calculated exactly, within the one loop effective potential. A number of new exact scalar field cosmologies are derived from effective potentials that are composed of two or more exponential terms. These solutions are considered from the standpoint of inflationary cosmology. In particular, solutions are presented that combine eras of exponential and power-law growth and which have a transition between inflationary and non-inflationary expansion. For some parameter choices, the density perturbation spectra produced by these models are significantly tilted with a minimal component of tensor perturbations.