Examples of backreaction of small scale inhomogeneities in cosmology


In previous work, we introduced a new framework to treat large-scale backreaction effects due to small-scale inhomogeneities in general relativity. We considered one-parameter families of spacetimes for which such backreaction effects can occur, and we proved that, provided the weak energy condition on matter is satisfied, the leading effect of small-scale inhomogeneities on large-scale dynamics is to produce a traceless effective stress-energy tensor that itself satisfies the weak energy condition. In this work, we illustrate the nature of our framework by providing two explicit examples of one-parameter families with backreaction. The first, based on previous work of Berger, is a family of polarized vacuum Gowdy spacetimes on a torus, which satisfies all of the assumptions of our framework. As the parameter approaches its limiting value, the metric uniformly approaches a smooth background metric, but space- time derivatives of the deviation of the metric from the background metric do not converge uniformly to zero. The limiting metric has nontrivial backreaction from the small-scale inhomogeneities, with an effective stress energy that is traceless and satisfies the weak energy condition, in accord with our theorems. Our second one-parameter family consists of metrics which have a uniform Friedmann-Lemaitre-Robertson-Walker limit. This family satisfies all of our assumptions with the exception of the weak energy condition for matter. In this case, the limiting metric has an effective stress-energy tensor which is not traceless. We emphasize the importance of imposing energy conditions on matter in studies of backreaction.

Phys. Rev. D 87, 124037
Stephen R. Green
Stephen R. Green
Nottingham Research Fellow

I am a theoretical physicist studying gravitational waves, based at the University of Nottingham. My main interests are in black hole perturbation theory and applying probabilistic machine-learning methods to analyze LIGO data.