[Submitted on 13 Jun 2023]

### Reheating after Inflaton Fragmentation

Marcos A. G. Garcia, Mathias PierreIn the presence of self-interactions, the post-inflationary evolution of the inflaton field is driven into the non-linear regime by the resonant growth of its fluctuations. The once spatially homogeneous coherent inflaton is converted into a collection of inflaton particles with non-vanishing momentum. Fragmentation significantly alters the energy transfer rate to the inflaton's offspring during the reheating epoch. In this work we introduce a formalism to quantify the effect of fragmentation on particle production rates, and determine the evolution of the inflaton and radiation energy densities, including the corresponding reheating temperatures. For an inflaton potential with a quartic minimum, we find that the efficiency of reheating is drastically diminished after backreaction, yet it can lead to temperatures above the big bang nucleosynthesis limit for sufficiently large couplings. In addition, we use a lattice simulation to estimate the spectrum of induced gravitational waves, sourced by the scalar inhomogeneities, and discuss detectability prospects. We find that a Boltzmann approach allows to accurately predict some of the main features of this spectrum.