We consider the role of supersymmetric flat directions in reheating the Universe after inflation. One or more flat directions can develop large vevs during inflation, which can potentially affect reheating by slowing down scattering processes among inflaton decay products or by coming to dominate the energy density of the Universe. Both effects occur only if flat directions are sufficiently long-lived. The computation of their perturbative decay rate, and a simple estimate of their nonperturbative decay have led to the conclusion that this is indeed the case. In contrast, we show that flat directions can decay quickly through nonperturbative channels in realistic models. The mass matrix for minimal supersymmetric standard model (MSSM) excitations around flat directions has nondiagonal entries, which vary with the phase of the (complex) flat directions. The quasiperiodic motion of the flat directions results in a strong parametric resonance, leading to the rapid depletion of the flat direction within its first few rotations. This may preclude any significant role for the flat directions in reheating the Universe after inflation in models in which the inflaton decays perturbatively.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology|
|State||Published - 2006|