Constraining supersymmetry with heavy scalars: Using the CMB

Luca Iliesiu, David J.E. Marsh, Kavilan Moodley, Scott Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


If low-energy supersymmetry (SUSY) exists, LHC data favors a high mass scale for scalar superpartners (above a TeV), while sfermions and the dark matter can be parametrically lighter - leading to a so-called split spectrum. When combining this fact with the motivation from fundamental theory for shift-symmetric scalars (moduli) prior to SUSY breaking, this leads to a nonthermal history for the early universe. Such a history implies different expectations for the microscopic properties of dark matter, as well as the possibility of dark radiation and a cosmic axion background. In this paper we examine how correlated and mixed isocurvature perturbations are generated in such models, as well as the connection to dark radiation. WMAP constraints on multiple correlated isocurvature modes allow up to half of the primordial perturbations to be isocurvature, contrary to the case of a single isocurvature mode where perturbations must be dominantly adiabatic. However, such bounds are strongly prior dependent, and have not been investigated with the latest Planck data. In this paper we use the example of a SUSY nonthermal history to establish theoretical priors on cosmological parameters. Of particular interest, we find that priors on dark radiation are degenerate with those on the total amount of isocurvature - they are inversely correlated. Dark radiation is tightly constrained in the early universe and has been used recently to place stringent constraints on string-based approaches to beyond the standard model. Our results suggest such constraints can require more input from theory. Specifically, we find that in many cases constraints on dark radiation are avoidable because the density can be reduced at the expense of predicting an amount of multicomponent isocurvature. The latter are poorly constrained by existing probes, and lead to the interesting possibility that such models could have new predictions for the next generation of observations. Our results are not only important for establishing the postinflationary universe in the presence of SUSY, but also suggest that data from cosmological probes - such as Planck - can help guide model building in models of the minimal SUSY standard model, split SUSY, and beyond. Our model also demonstrates the utility of UV models in constructing cosmological priors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103513
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 14 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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