The early cosmic inflation, when taken along with the recent observations that the universe is currently dominated by a low density vacuum energy, leads to at least two potential problems which modern cosmology must address. First, there is the old cosmological constant problem, with a new twist: the coincidence problem. Secondly, cosmology still lacks a model to predict the observed current cosmic acceleration and to determine whether or not there is a future exit out of this state (as previously in the inflationary case). This constitutes (what is called here) a dynamical problem. In this article a framework is proposed to address these two problems, based on treating the cosmic background vacuum (dark) energy as both dynamical and interacting. The universe behaves as a vacuum-driven cosmic engine which, in search of equilibrium, always back-reacts to vacuum-induced accelerations by increasing its inertia (internal energy) through vacuum energy dissipation. The process couples cosmic vacuum (dark) energy to matter to produce future-directed increasingly comparable amplitudes in these fields by setting up oscillations in the decaying vacuum energy density and corresponding sympathetic ones in the matter fields. By putting bounds on the relative magnitudes of these coupled oscillations the model offers a natural and conceptually simple channel to discuss the coincidence problem, while also suggesting a way to deal with the dynamical problem. A result with useful observational implications is an equation of state w(t) which specifically predicts a variable, quasi-periodic, acceleration for the current universe. This result can be directly tested by future observational techniques such as SNAP.
Department, Program, or Center
School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)
M. Mbonye, Modern Physics Letters A 19, 117 (2004).
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