Carlos J. A. P. Martins
Topological defects necessarily form at phase transitions in the early universe. Being non-linear objects, their study requires a combination of phenomenological analytic modeling and complex numerical simulations. Among the possible defects, cosmic strings and superstring networks are particularly interesting, and recent work suggests their unavoidable formation at the phase transition that ends inflation.
Although cosmic superstrings share many of the properties of standard strings that have been studied in the past, there are important differences: most notably they do not always intercommute when they intersect and the formation of junctions occurs naturally as a result the interaction between the string. Hybrid networks containing various types of defects can also form.
This is a subject that warrants further study, since it can have an impact on the observational signatures of (and searches for) these objects, and may lead to novel astrophysical tests of fundamental physics. The upcoming availability of high-precision data from ESA's Planck Surveyor makes this study particularly timely.
Portuguese Node: CAUP
Co-PI: Carlos Martins
British Node: Centre for Theoretical Cosmology (CTC)
15 April 2010
31 May 2011
Conselho de Reitores das Universidades Portuguesas