No “knots” in space

On 21 June, 2012, in Papers, People, Science, by admin

Theories of the primordial Universe predict the existence of knots in the fabric of space – known as cosmic textures – which could be identified by looking at light from the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the relic radiation left over from the Big Bang.

A random collection of textures taken from high-resolution, supercomputer simulations. Red indicates a positive twist in the topological charge density and blue a negative twist. Credit: V. Travieso and N. Turok

Using data from NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) satellite, Stephen Feeney and Hiranya Peiris, with collaborators Matt Johnson (Perimeter Institute, Canada) and Daniel Mortlock (Imperial College London) have just performed the first search for textures on the full CMB sky, finding no evidence for such knots in space.

As the Universe cooled it underwent a series of phase transitions, analogous to water freezing into ice. Many transitions cannot occur consistently throughout space, giving rise in some theories to imperfections in the structure of the cooling material known as cosmic textures.

If produced in the early Universe, textures would interact with light from the CMB to leave a set of characteristic hot and cold spots. If detected, such signatures would yield invaluable insight into the types of phase transitions that occurred when the Universe was a fraction of a second old, with drastic implications for particle physics.

The new study, published in Physical Review Letters, places the best limits available on theories that produce textures, ruling out at 95% confidence theories that produce more than six detectable textures on our sky.

You can read the paper below!

Stephen M. Feeney, Matthew C. Johnson, Daniel J. Mortlock, Hiranya V. Peiris

Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 241301 (2012)


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