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A tail of eternal inflation

Timothy Cohen, Daniel Green, Akhil Premkumar

SciPost Phys. 14, 109 (2023) · published 12 May 2023


Non-trivial inflaton self-interactions can yield calculable signatures of primordial non-Gaussianity that are measurable in cosmic surveys. We calculate the non-Gaussian corrections to Stochastic Inflation within the framework of Soft de Sitter Effective Theory, from which we derive the associated probability distribution for the scalar fluctuations. As a consequence of this new result, we show that the phase transition to slow-roll eternal inflation is often incalculable in these models. Instead, this transition is sensitive to the non-Gaussian tail of the distribution of scalar fluctuations, which probes physics inside the horizon, potentially beyond the cutoff scale of the Effective Field Theory of Inflation. We delineate the parameter space consistent with current observations and weak coupling at horizon crossing in which the large fluctuations relevant for eternal inflation can only be determined by appealing to a UV completion. We also argue that this breakdown of the perturbative description is required for the de Sitter entropy to reflect the number of de Sitter microstates.

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