Finding Gravitational Waves from the Early Universe

Finding Gravitational Waves from the Early Universe - Eiichiro Komatsu

Eiichiro Komatsu
Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics
October 1, 2019

The cosmic microwave background (CMB) research told us a remarkable story: the structure we see in our Universe such as galaxies, stars, planets, and eventually ourselves originated from tiny quantum fluctuations generated in the early Universe. With the WMAP we have confirmed many of the key predictions of inflation including flatness and statistical homogeneity of our Universe, Gaussianity and adiabaticity of primordial density fluctuations, and a small but non-zero deviation from the scale-invariant spectrum of density fluctuations. Yet, the extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence. The last prediction of inflation that is yet to be confirmed is the existence of primordial gravitational waves whose wavelength can be as big as billions of light years. To this end we have proposed to JAXA a new satellite mission called LiteBIRD, whose primary scientific goal is to find signatures of gravitational waves in the polarisation of the CMB. In this presentation we describe physics of gravitational waves from inflation including both the vacuum and sourced contributions (i.e., left and right hands of Einstein’s equation), the LiteBIRD proposal, as well as a sub-mm telescope in Chile called CCAT-prime that we are currently building.