DEFROST: A New Code for Simulating Preheating after Inflation
Abstract: At the end of inflation, dynamical instability can rapidly deposit the energy of homogeneous cold inflaton into excitations of other fields. This process, known as preheating, is rather violent, inhomogeneous and non-linear, and has to be studied numerically. This paper presents a new code for simulating scalar field dynamics in expanding universe written for that purpose. Compared to available alternatives, it significantly improves both the speed and the accuracy of calculations, and is fully instrumented for 3D visualization. We reproduce previously published results on preheating in simple chaotic inflation models, and further investigate non-linear dynamics of the inflaton decay. Surprisingly, we find that the fields do not want to thermalize quite the way one would think. Instead of directly reaching equilibrium, the evolution appears to be stuck in a rather simple but quite inhomogeneous state. In particular, one-point distribution function of total energy density appears to be universal among various two-field preheating models, and is exceedingly well described by a lognormal distribution. It is tempting to attribute this state to scalar field turbulence.
Credit: Andrei V. Frolov