Constraining scalar field dark energy with cosmological observations

by Samushia, Lado

Abstract (Summary)
High precision cosmological observations in last decade suggest that about 70% of our universe's energy density is in so called "Dark Energy" (DE). Observations show that DE has negative effective pressure and therefore unlike conventional energy sources accelerates the cosmic expansion instead of decelerating it. DE is highly uniform and has become a dominant component only recently.

The simplest candidate for DE is the time-independent cosmological constant. Although successful in fitting available data, the cosmological constant model has a number of theoretical shortcomings and because of that alternative models of DE are considered. In one such scenario a cosmological scalar field that slowly rolls down its potential acts like a time-dependent cosmological constant.

I have used different independent cosmological data sets to constrain the time dependence of DE's energy density in the framework of the slowly-rolling cosmological scalar field model. Present data favors a time-independent cosmological constant, but the time-dependent DE can not be ruled out at high confidence level. Ongoing and planned cosmological probes and surveys will provide more and better quality data over the next decade. When the new data sets are available we will be able to either detect the time dependence of DE or constrain it to a very small physically uninteresting value.

Bibliographical Information:


School:Kansas State University

School Location:USA - Kansas

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:cosmology dark energy cosmological tests physics astronomy and astrophysics 0606


Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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