Resilience of the standard predictions for primordial tensor modes

Paolo Creminelli, Jérôme Gleyzes, Jorge Noreña, Filippo Vernizzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


We show that the prediction for the primordial tensor power spectrum cannot be modified at leading order in derivatives. Indeed, one can always set to unity the speed of propagation of gravitational waves during inflation by a suitable disformal transformation of the metric, while a conformal one can make the Planck mass time independent. Therefore, the tensor amplitude unambiguously fixes the energy scale of inflation. Using the effective field theory of inflation, we check that predictions are independent of the choice of frame, as expected. The first corrections to the standard prediction come from two parity violating operators with three derivatives. Also the correlator 〈γγγ〉 is standard and only receives higher derivative corrections. These results hold also in multifield models of inflation and in alternatives to inflation and make the connection between a (quasi-)scale-invariant tensor spectrum and inflation completely robust.

Original languageEnglish
Article number231301
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number23
StatePublished - 3 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


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