## Ovrut, Burt A.

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Publication Supersymmetric Galileons(2011-08-15) Khoury, Justin; Ovrut, Burt A.; Lehners, Jean-LucGalileon theories are of considerable interest since they allow for stable violations of the null energy condition. Since such violations could have occurred during a high-energy regime in the history of our Universe, we are motivated to study supersymmetric extensions of these theories. This is carried out in this paper, where we construct generic classes of N=1 supersymmetric Galileon Lagrangians. They are shown to admit nonequivalent stress-energy tensors and, hence, vacua manifesting differing conditions for violating the null energy condition. The temporal and spatial fluctuations of all component fields of the supermultiplet are analyzed and shown to be stable on a large number of such backgrounds. In the process, we uncover a surprising connection between conformal Galileon and ghost-condensate theories, allowing for a deeper understanding of both types of theories.Publication New Ekpyrotic Cosmology(2007-12-07) Khoury, Justin; Buchbinder, Evgeny I.; Ovrut, Burt A.In this paper, we present a new scenario of the early universe that contains a pre-big bang ekpyrotic phase. By combining this with a ghost condensate, the theory explicitly violates the null energy condition without developing any ghostlike instabilities. Thus the contracting universe goes through a nonsingular bounce and evolves smoothly into the expanding post-big bang phase. The curvature perturbation acquires a scale-invariant spectrum well before the bounce in this scenario. It is sourced by the scale-invariant entropy perturbation engendered by two ekpyrotic scalar fields, a mechanism recently proposed by Lehners et al. Since the background geometry is nonsingular at all times, the curvature perturbation remains nearly constant on superhorizon scales. It emerges from the bounce unscathed and imprints a scale-invariant spectrum of density fluctuations in the matter-radiation fluid at the onset of the hot big bang phase. The ekpyrotic potential can be chosen so that the spectrum has a red tilt, in accordance with the recent data from WMAP. As in the original ekpyrotic scenario, the model predicts a negligible gravity wave signal on all observable scales. As such ‘‘new ekpyrotic cosmology’’ provides a consistent and distinguishable alternative to inflation to account for the origin of the seeds of large-scale structure.Publication Stabilizing all geometric moduli in heterotic Calabi-Yau vacua(2011-05-27) Anderson, Lara B.; Gray, James; Ovrut, Burt A.; Lukas, AndreWe propose a scenario to stabilize all geometric moduli—that is, the complex structure, Kähler moduli, and the dilaton—in smooth heterotic Calabi-Yau compactifications without Neveu-Schwarz three-form flux. This is accomplished using the gauge bundle required in any heterotic compactification, whose perturbative effects on the moduli are combined with nonperturbative corrections. We argue that, for appropriate gauge bundles, all complex structure and a large number of other moduli can be perturbatively stabilized—in the most restrictive case, leaving only one combination of Kähler moduli and the dilaton as a flat direction. At this stage, the remaining moduli space consists of Minkowski vacua. That is, the perturbative superpotential vanishes in the vacuum without the necessity to fine-tune flux. Finally, we incorporate nonperturbative effects such as gaugino condensation and/or instantons. These are strongly constrained by the anomalous U(1) symmetries, which arise from the required bundle constructions. We present a specific example, with a consistent choice of nonperturbative effects, where all remaining flat directions are stabilized in an anti-de Sitter vacuum.Publication Non-Gaussianities in New Ekpyrotic Cosmology(2008-05-02) Khoury, Justin; Buchbinder, Evgeny I.; Ovrut, Burt A.The new ekpyrotic model is an alternative scenario of the early Universe which relies on a phase of slow contraction before the big bang. We calculate the 3-point and 4-point correlation functions of primordial density perturbations and find a generically large non-Gaussian signal, just below the current sensitivity level of cosmic microwave background experiments. This is in contrast with slow-roll inflation, which predicts negligible non-Gaussianity. The model is also distinguishable from alternative inflationary scenarios that can yield large non-Gaussianity, such as Dirac-Born-Infeld inflation and the simplest curvatonlike models, through the shape dependence of the correlation functions. Non-Gaussianity therefore provides a distinguishing and testable prediction of New Ekpyrotic Cosmology.Publication Higher-Derivative Chiral Superfield Actions Coupled to N = 1 Supergravity(2012-10-08) Koehn, Michael; Lehners, Jean-Luc; Ovrut, Burt A.We construct N = 1 supergravity extensions of scalar field theories with higher-derivative kinetic terms. Special attention is paid to the auxiliary fields, whose elimination leads not only to corrections to the kinetic terms, but to new expressions for the potential energy as well. For example, a potential energy can be generated even in the absence of a superpotential. Our formalism allows one to write a supergravity extension of any higher-derivative scalar field theory and therefore has applications to both particle physics and cosmological model building. As an illustration, we couple the higher-derivative Dirac-Born-Infeld action describing a 3-brane in six dimensions to N = 1 supergravity. This displays a number of new features including the fact that in the regime where the higher-derivative kinetic terms become important, the potential tends to be everywhere negative.Publication Ghost Condensate in N = 1 Supergravity(2013-03-26) Koehn, Michael; Lehners, Jean-Luc; Ovrut, Burt A.We present the theory of a supersymmetric ghost condensate coupled to N=1 supergravity. This is accomplished using a general formalism for constructing locally supersymmetric higher-derivative chiral superfield actions. The theory admits a ghost condensate vacuum in de Sitter spacetime. Expanded around this vacuum, the scalar sector of the theory is shown to be ghost-free with no spatial gradient instabilities. By direct calculation, the fermion sector is found to consist of a massless chiral fermion and a massless gravitino. By analyzing the supersymmetry transformations, we find that the chiral fermion transforms inhomogeneously, indicating that the ghost condensate vacuum spontaneously breaks local supersymmetry with this field as the Goldstone fermion. Although potentially able to get a mass through the super-Higgs effect, the vanishing superpotential in the ghost condensate theory renders the gravitino massless. Thus local supersymmetry is broken without the super-Higgs effect taking place. This is in agreement with, and gives an explanation for, the direct calculation.Publication DBI Inflation in N = 1 Supergravity(2012-12-07) Koehn, Michael; Lehners, Jean-Luc; Ovrut, Burt A.It was recently demonstrated that, when coupled to N = 1 supergravity, the Dirac-Born-Infeld (DBI) action constructed from a single chiral superfield has the property that when the higher-derivative terms become important, the potential becomes negative. Thus, DBI inflation cannot occur in its most interesting, relativistic regime. In this paper, it is shown how to overcome this problem by coupling the model to one or more additional chiral supermultiplets. In this way, one obtains effective single real scalar field DBI models with arbitrary positive potentials, as well as multiple real scalar field DBI inflation models with hybrid potentials.Publication Perturbative Antibrane Potentials in Heterotic M Theory(2007-09-28) Gray, James; Lukas, Andre; Ovrut, Burt A.We derive the perturbative four-dimensional effective theory describing heterotic M theory with branes and antibranes in the bulk space. The backreaction of both the branes and antibranes is explicitly included. To first order in the heterotic ϵS expansion, we find that the forces on branes and antibranes vanish and that the Kachru-Kallosh-Linde-Trivedi (KKLT) procedure of simply adding to the supersymmetric theory the probe approximation to the energy density of the antibrane reproduces the correct potential. However, there are additional nonsupersymmetric corrections to the gauge-kinetic functions and matter terms. The new correction to the gauge-kinetic functions is important in a discussion of moduli stabilization. At second order in the ϵS expansion, we find that the forces on the branes and antibranes become nonvanishing. These forces are not precisely in the naive form that one may have anticipated and, being second order in the small parameter ϵS, they are relatively weak. This suggests that moduli stabilization in heterotic models with antibranes is achievable.Publication Flux, Gaugino Condensation, and Antibranes in Heteroic M Theory(2007-12-27) Gray, James; Lukas, André; Ovrut, Burt A.We present the potential energy due to flux and gaugino condensation in heterotic M theory compactifications with antibranes in the vacuum. For reasons which we explain in detail, the contributions to the potential due to flux are not modified from those in supersymmetric contexts. The discussion of gaugino condensation is, however, changed by the presence of antibranes. We show how a careful microscopic analysis of the system allows us to use standard results in supersymmetric gauge theory in describing such effects—despite the explicit supersymmetry breaking which is present. Not surprisingly, the significant effect of antibranes on the threshold corrections to the gauge kinetic functions greatly alters the potential energy terms arising from gaugino condensation.