Finding Evidence for Inflation and the Origin of Galactic Magnetic Fields with CMB Surveys

Kavli Affiliate: Toshiya Namikawa

| First 5 Authors: Sayan Mandal, Neelima Sehgal, Toshiya Namikawa, ,

| Summary:

The origin of the $mu$G magnetic fields observed in galaxies is unknown. One
promising scenario is that magnetic fields generated during inflation, larger
than 0.1 nG on Mpc scales, were adiabatically compressed to $mu$G strengths in
galaxies during structure formation. Thus, detecting a scale-invariant
primordial magnetic field (PMF) above 0.1 nG on Mpc scales just after
recombination would indicate an inflationary origin of galactic magnetic
fields. This would also provide compelling evidence that inflation occurred
since only an inflationary mechanism could generate such a strong,
scale-invariant magnetic field on Mpc scales. In contrast, constraining the
scale-invariant PMF strength to be below 0.1 nG would imply an inflationary
scenario is not the primary origin, since such weak PMFs cannot be amplified
enough via adiabatic compression to produce the strength of the galactic fields
we observe today. We find that measurements of anisotropic birefringence by
future CMB surveys will be able to improve the sensitivity to Mpc-scale
inflationary PMFs by an order of magnitude, and, in particular, that CMB-HD
would lower the upper bound to 0.072 nG at the 95% C.L., which is below the
critical 0.1 nG threshold for ruling out a purely inflationary origin. If
inflationary PMFs exist, we find that a CMB-HD survey would be able to detect
them with about $3sigma$ significance or higher, providing evidence for
inflation itself.

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