These weird lumps of 'inflatons' could be the very first structures in the universe

"The dense inflaton-filled structures seen in the simulations likely didn't last long, as they probably turned into elementary particles within fractions of a second. But with their high densities — reaching as much as 100,000 times denser the surrounding space — their movements and interactions may have generated ripples in the fabric of space-time called gravitational waves. The new simulations will help scientists calculate exactly how big those gravitational waves may have been, which will help future experiments look for similar ripples in the universe."

Okay, a good definition of what an inflaton is I think is needed :) The article is reporting on the new physics used in cosmology, the post-inflation universe :) I see more and more reporting on this now. Astrophysicists simulate microscopic clusters from the Big Bang, https://phys.org/news/2021-03-astrophysicists-simulate-microscopic-clusters-big.html, March 2021. "The very first moments of the Universe can be reconstructed mathematically even though they cannot be observed directly. Physicists from the Universities of Göttingen and Auckland (New Zealand) have greatly improved the ability of complex computer simulations to describe this early epoch. They discovered that a complex network of structures can form in the first trillionth of a second after the Big Bang."

That is 10^-12 s after BB but inflation takes place some 10^-36 to 10^-32 second and Planck time is even shorter than that :) Here is another post-inflation report, Formation of inflaton halos after inflation, https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2021PhRvD.103f3525E/abstract, March 2021. "I. INTRODUCTION The rapid expansion of the universe during inflation [1-4] is followed by an epoch dominated by an oscillating inflaton field. In many cases the resulting condensate is rapidly fragmented by the resonant production of quanta, a process that depends on the detailed form of the inflaton potential and its couplings to other fields [5-7]..."

Perhaps someday, I may be able to see these early inflatons as clearly and easily as I can see the 4 Galilean moons orbiting at Jupiter using my telescopes or the bigger, more expensive models at observatories will see them :) Perhaps some constraints will develop on this approach in cosmology as time passes. For example, gravity is used in the report, what about quantum gravity? Discussions about primordial black holes popping up too. Indeed, the inflation universe and post-inflation universe is very different than what we can presently see in the universe using good telescopes :)

In terms of first structures in the universe forming after BB, it used to be Population III stars (before galaxies), now we have these interesting post-inflation universe *objects* that appear long before BBN, formation of the CMBR, and later, Population III stars.
 
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