We study gravitational wave production during Abelian gauge-field preheating following inflation. We consider both scalar and pseudoscalar inflaton models coupled directly to Abelian gauge fields via either a dilatonic coupling to the gauge-field kinetic term or an axial coupling to a Chern-Simons term. In both cases gravitational waves are produced efficiently during the preheating phase, with a signature louder than most cosmological signals. These gravitational waves can contribute to the radiation energy budget of Universe at a level which will be probed by upcoming cosmic microwave background experiments through Neff. For axially coupled fields the resulting gravitational wave spectrum is helically polarized - a unique feature that can be used to differentiate it from other stochastic gravitational wave backgrounds. We compute the gravitational topological charge and demonstrate that gauge preheating following axion inflation may be responsible for the matter-antimatter asymmetry of the Universe via gravitational leptogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)