Critical number of fields in stochastic inflation

Vincent Vennin, Hooshyar Assadullahi, Hassan Firouzjahi, Mahdiyar Noorbala, David Wands

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Stochastic effects in generic scenarios of inflation with multiple fields are investigated. First passage time techniques are employed to calculate the statistical moments of the number of inflationary e-folds, which give rise to all correlation functions of primordial curvature perturbations through the stochastic δN formalism. The number of fields is a critical parameter. The probability of exploring arbitrarily large-field regions of the potential becomes nonvanishing when more than two fields are driving inflation. The mean number of e-folds can be infinite, depending on the number of fields; for plateau potentials, this occurs even with one field. In such cases, correlation functions of curvature perturbations are infinite. They can, however, be regularized if a reflecting (or absorbing) wall is added at large energy or field value. The results are found to be independent of the exact location of the wall and this procedure is, therefore, well defined for a wide range of cutoffs, above or below the Planck scale. Finally, we show that, contrary to single-field setups, multifield models can yield large stochastic corrections even at sub-Planckian energy, opening interesting prospects for probing quantum effects on cosmological fluctuations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number031301
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2017


  • RCUK
  • STFC
  • ST/K00090X/1
  • N000668/1


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