Path integral for inflationary perturbations

T. Prokopec, G. Rigopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The quantum theory of cosmological perturbations in single-field inflation is formulated in terms of a path integral. Starting from a canonical formulation, we show how the free propagators can be obtained from the well-known gauge-invariant quadratic action for scalar and tensor perturbations, and determine the interactions to arbitrary order. This approach does not require the explicit solution of the energy and momentum constraints, a novel feature which simplifies the determination of the interaction vertices. The constraints and the necessary imposition of gauge conditions is reflected in the appearance of various commuting and anticommuting auxiliary fields in the action. These auxiliary fields are not propagating physical degrees of freedom but need to be included in internal lines and loops in a diagrammatic expansion. To illustrate the formalism we discuss the tree-level three-point and four-point functions of the inflaton perturbations, reproducing the results already obtained by the methods used in the current literature. Loop calculations are left for future work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)023529/1-023529/24
Number of pages24
JournalPhysical Review. D, Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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