Inflation in the early Universe is one of the most promising probes of gravity in the high-energy regime. However, observable scales give access to a limited window in the inflationary dynamics. In this essay, we argue that quantum corrections to the classical dynamics of cosmological fields allow us to probe much earlier epochs of the inflationary phase and extend this window by many orders of magnitude. We point out that both the statistics of cosmological fluctuations at observable scales, and the field displacements acquired by spectator fields that play an important role in many post-inflationary processes, are sensitive to a much longer phase of the inflationary epoch.
- physics of the early universe
- quantum gravity phenomenology