Date of Award

June 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Gary S. Watson

Second Advisor

William Wylie


high energy physics, inflation, reheating, theoretical cosmology

Subject Categories

Physical Sciences and Mathematics


One essence in capturing the history of primordial fluctuations that arise during inflation and eventually lead to formation of large scale structures in the universe, relies on quantizing general relativity coupled to a scalar field. This is a system that respects diffeomorphism invariance, the freedom of choosing the coordinate system to work with without changing the physics. Hence the way to handle its quantization requires an understanding of how to quantize diffeomorphisms. Deciding on suitable coordinate choices and making sure that this gauge fixing, which is unavoidable in any calculation, does not effect the end result, is tricky. In this thesis we make full use of the effects of diffeomorphism invariance of the theory on the primordial fluctuations to pursue two different approaches that focus on treating perturbations after gauge fixing. On one hand we work towards developing our understanding of how to handle quantization in terms of Dirac quantization and Becchi, Rouet, Stora, Tyutin (BRST) quantization. On another, we focus on how to generalize the allowed interactions and understand the scales they bring in the era of preheating that follows inflation, with effective field theory (EFT) methods on cosmological backgrounds.


Open Access