Beginning inflation in an inhomogeneous universe

William E. East, Matthew Kleban, Andrei Linde, Leonardo Senatore

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Using numerical solutions of the full Einstein field equations coupled to a scalar inflaton field in 3+1 dimensions, we study the conditions under which a universe that is initially expanding, highly inhomogeneous and dominated by gradient energy can transition to an inflationary period. If the initial scalar field variations are contained within a sufficiently flat region of the inflaton potential, and the universe is spatially flat or open on average, inflation will occur following the dilution of the gradient and kinetic energy due to expansion. This is the case even when the scale of the inhomogeneities is comparable to the initial Hubble length, and overdense regions collapse and form black holes, because underdense regions continue expanding, allowing inflation to eventually begin. This establishes that inflation can arise from highly inhomogeneous initial conditions and solve the horizon and flatness problems, at least as long as the variations in the scalar field do not include values that exceed the inflationary plateau.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number010
    JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
    Issue number9
    StatePublished - Sep 6 2016


    • GR black holes
    • inflation
    • initial conditions and eternal universe

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics


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