Video URL http://pirsa.org/21110015
Non-gaussianity of primordial density perturbations can be sensitive to very heavy particles at the inflationary Hubble scale (H < 10^(13) GeV). However, the window of observability is often constrained to masses close to H. In this talk, I will discuss a mechanism (dubbed “chemical potential”) for heavy complex scalar fields that can extend this window to masses as large as 60H. The mechanism utilizes the large kinetic energy of the inflaton to enhance particle production, and can impart observable non-gaussianity, f_NL~ O(0.01-10). In the second part of the talk, I will discuss another mechanism where the distinct signature of a heavy field can be imprinted at the level of the power spectrum by violating scale-invariance. This can be achieved through the onset of classical oscillations of the heavy field during inflation, instead of quantum production. We consider the possibility of observing such a signal in the stochastic gravitational wave (GW) background originating from a first-order phase transition in a hidden sector. The signal can be observably large in the GW map while being completely hidden in the standard curvature perturbations such as those of the CMB.