Dark Energy and Condensate Stars: Macroscopic Effects of the Quantum Trace Anomaly in Low Energy Gravity

Speaker: 
Emil Mottola, LNAL
Event Date and Time: 
Wed, 2016-04-13 11:00 - 12:00
Location: 
Hennings 318
The twin problems of reconciling quantum theory with classical black holes and the existence of cosmological dark energy suggest that something basic is missing in the gravitational sector of the Standard Model at macroscopic distance scales. In an Wilsonian Effective Field Theory (EFT) approach considerations parallel to that in QCD and the chiral anomaly indicate that the action of the conformal trace anomaly should be included in the EFT of low energy gravity. The conformal anomaly action implies the existence of a new long range massless scalar degree of freedom in gravity, not present in the classical Einstein theory, which couples to classical sources, contributes to gravitational scattering processes and predicts the existence of scalar gravitational waves.
 
The fluctuations of this anomaly scalar also imply that cosmological vacuum energy is not a constant but a kind of dynamical gravitational condensate which is state dependent and is screened to zero in the far infrared.   Macroscopic quantum coherence effects of this EFT are most significant in the vicinity of black hole event horizons, where a quantum phase transition to the condensate phase induced by conformal fluctuations can occur, leading to a non-singular interior in the fully collapsed state. The interior vacuum energy is then a dynamical finite volume effect of the horizon scale, providing also for a model of cosmological dark energy with a value matched to the Hubble horizon.
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