We study preheating in theories where the inflaton couples derivatively to scalar and gauge fields. Such couplings may dominate in natural models of inflation, in which the flatness of the inflaton potential is related to an approximate shift symmetry of the inflaton. We compare our results with previously studied models with non-derivative couplings. For sufficiently heavy scalar matter, parametric resonance is ineffective in reheating the universe, because the couplings of the inflaton to matter are very weak. If scalar matter fields are light, derivative couplings lead to a mild long-wavelength instability that drives matter fields to non-zero expectation values. In this case however, long-wavelength fluctuations of the light scalar are produced during inflation, leading to a host of cosmological problems. In contrast, axion-like couplings of the inflaton to a gauge field do not lead to production of long-wavelength fluctuations during inflation. However, again because of the weakness of the couplings to the inflaton, parametric resonance is not effective in producing gauge field quanta.
Armendariz-Picon, Christian; Trodden, Mark; and West, Eric J., "Preheating in Derivatively-Coupled Inflation Models" (2007). Physics. Paper 227.
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