Steepest growth of the power spectrum and primordial black holes

Byrnes, Christian T, Cole, Philippa S and Patil, Subodh P (2019) Steepest growth of the power spectrum and primordial black holes. Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, 2019 (06). a028 1-40. ISSN 1475-7516

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We derive analytic bounds on the shape of the primordial power spectrum in the context of single-field inflation. In particular, the steepest possible growth has a spectral index of ns − 1 = 4 once transients have died down. Its primary implication is that any constraint on the power spectrum at a particular scale can be extrapolated to an upper bound over an extended range of scales. This is important for models which generate relics due to an enhanced amplitude of the primordial scalar perturbations, such as primordial black holes. In order to generate them, the power spectrum needs to grow many orders of magnitude larger than its observed value on CMB scales—typically achieved through a phase of ultra slow-roll inflation—and is thus subject to additional constraints at small scales. We plot all relevant constraints including CMB spectral distortions and gravitational waves sourced by scalar perturbations at second order. We show how this limits the allowed mass of PBHs, especially for the large masses of interest following recent detections by LIGO and prospects for constraining them further with future observations. We show that any transition from approximately constant epsilon slow-roll inflation to a phase where the power spectrum rapidly rises necessarily implies an intervening dip in power. We also show how to reconstruct a potential that can reproduce an arbitrary time-varying epsilon, offering a complementary perspective on how ultra slow-roll can be achieved.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Mathematics
School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Research Centres and Groups: Astronomy Centre
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Depositing User: Alice Jackson
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2019 10:33
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2020 01:00

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