Constraining primordial tensor features with the anisotropies of the Cosmic Microwave Background

Jan Hamann and Ameek Malhotra

Submitted on 2 September 2022


It is commonly assumed that the stochastic background of gravitational waves on cosmological scales follows an almost scale-independent power spectrum, as generically predicted by the inflationary paradigm. However, it is not inconceivable that the spectrum could have strongly scale-dependent features, generated, e.g., via transient dynamics of spectator axion-gauge fields during inflation. Using the temperature and polarisation maps from the \textit{Planck} and BICEP/Keck datasets, we search for such features, taking the example of a log-normal bump in the primordial tensor spectrum at CMB scales. We do not find any evidence for the existence of bump-like tensor features at present, but demonstrate that future CMB experiments such as LiteBIRD and CMB-S4 will greatly improve our prospects of determining the amplitude, location and width of such a bump. We also highlight the role of delensing in constraining these features at angular scales 100.


Comment: 16 pages, 7 figures

Subjects: Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics; General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology