Increasing evidence suggests that most of the energy density of the universe consists of a dark energy component with negative pressure, a ``cosmological constant" that causes the cosmic expansion to accelerate. In this paper, we address the puzzle of why this component comes to dominate the universe only recently rather than at some much earlier epoch. We present a class of theories based on an evolving scalar field where the explanation is based entirely on internal dynamical properties of the solutions. In the theories we consider, the dynamics causes the scalar field to lock automatically into a negative pressure state at the onset of matter-domination such that the present epoch is the earliest possible time, consistent with nucleosynthesis restrictions, when it can start to dominate.
Armendariz-Picon, Christian; Mukhanov, V.; and Steinhardt, Paul J., "A Dynamical Solution to the Problem of a Small Cosmological Constant and Late-Time Cosmic Acceleration" (2000). Physics. 222.
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