Quantum discord of cosmic inflation: can we show that CMB anisotropies are of quantum-mechanical origin?

Jerome Martin, Vincent Vennin

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We investigate the quantumness of primordial cosmological fluctuations and its detectability. The quantum discord of inflationary perturbations is calculated for an arbitrary splitting of the system, and shown to be very large on super-Hubble scales. This entails the presence of large quantum correlations, due to the entangled production of particles with opposite momentums during inflation. To determine how this is reflected at the observational level, we study whether quantum correlators can be reproduced by a nondiscordant state, i.e. a state with vanishing discord that contains classical correlations only. We demonstrate that this can be done for the power spectrum, the price to pay being twofold: first, large errors in other two-point correlation functions that cannot however be detected since they are hidden in the decaying mode; second, the presence of intrinsic non-Gaussianity, the detectability of which remains to be determined but which could possibly rule out a nondiscordant description of the cosmic microwave background. If one abandons the idea that perturbations should be modeled by quantum mechanics and wants to use a classical stochastic formalism instead, we show that any two-point correlators on super-Hubble scales can be exactly reproduced regardless of the squeezing of the system. The latter becomes important only for higher order correlation functions that can be accurately reproduced only in the strong squeezing regime.
Original languageEnglish
Article number023505
Number of pages32
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2016


  • RCUK
  • STFC
  • ST/K00090X/1
  • ST/L005573/1


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