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Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto

Observational Constraints on Varying-Alpha Domain Walls

P. P. Avelino, L. Sousa

We consider the possibility that current hints of spatial variations of the fine structure constant at high redshift, based on VLT/UVES and Keck/HIRES observations, could be caused by a biased domain wall network described by a scalar field non-minimally coupled to the electromagnetic field. We show that in order to be responsible for the reported spatial variations of the fine structure constant, the fractional contribution of the domain wall network to the energy density of the Universe should be tightly constrained within the range 1010<Ωw0<105 . We also show that the domain wall dynamics should be essentially frictionless, so that its characteristic scale is in the order of the Hubble radius at the present time.

cosmology - topological defects - domain walls - fundamental constants

Volume 1, Page 6
February 2015

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Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences

Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) is a new but long anticipated research infrastructure with a national dimension. It embodies a bold but feasible vision for the development of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal, taking full advantage and fully realizing the potential created by the national membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). IA resulted from the merging the two most prominent research units in the field in Portugal: the Centre for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) and the Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Lisbon (CAAUL). It currently hosts more than two-thirds of all active researchers working in Space Sciences in Portugal, and is responsible for an even greater fraction of the national productivity in international ISI journals in the area of Space Sciences. This is the scientific area with the highest relative impact factor (1.65 times above the international average) and the field with the highest average number of citations per article for Portugal.

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