Geometric precipices in string cosmology

Nemanja Kaloper, Scott Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


We consider the effects of graviton multiplet fields on transitions between string gas phases. Focusing on the dilaton field, we show that it may obstruct transitions between different thermodynamic phases of the string gas, because the sign of its dimensionally reduced, T-duality invariant, part is conserved when the energy density of the Universe is positive. Thus, many interesting solutions for which this sign is positive end up in a future curvature singularity. Because of this, some of the thermodynamic phases of the usual gravitating string gases behave like superselection sectors. For example, a past-regular Hagedorn phase and an expanding Friedmann-Robertson-Walker (FRW) phase dominated by string momentum modes cannot be smoothly connected in the framework of string cosmology with positive sources. The singularity separates them like a geometric precipice in the moduli space, preventing the dynamics of the theory from bridging across. Sources which simultaneously violate the positivity of energy and null energy condition (NEC) could modify these conclusions. We provide a quantitative measure of positivity of energy and NEC violations that would be necessary for such transitions. These effects must dominate the Universe at the moment of transition, altering the standard gas pictures. At present, it is not known how to construct such sources from first principles in string theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number066002
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 4 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Geometric precipices in string cosmology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this