The Phantom Divide in String Gas Cosmology


One of the main virtues of string gas cosmology is that it resolves cosmological singularities. Since the Universe can be approximated by a locally asymptotically de Sitter spacetime by the end of the inflationary era, a singularity theorem implies that these cosmologies effectively violate the Null Energy Condition [not just the Strong Energy Condition]. We stress that this is an extremely robust result, which does not depend on assuming that the spatial sections remain precisely flat in the early Universe. This means, however, that it must be possible for string cosmologies to cross the recently much-discussed phantom divide [from w < −1 to w> −1, where w is the equation-ofstate parameter]. This naturally raises the question as to whether the phantom divide can be crossed again, to account for recent observations suggesting that w < −1 at the present time. We argue that non-perturbative string effects rule out this possibility, even if the NEC violation in question is only “effective”.1. String Gases, Topology, and the Null Energy Condition The string gas cosmology of Brandenberger and Vafa [1][2][3] has many attractions, but, among them, two stand out in particular: it is claimed that this approach can explain th

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