How and why strings generalize geometry
4 hours ago
We relate the mechanism of matter creation in the universe after inflation to a simple and universal mathematical property of extended N > 1 supergravities and related compactifications of superstring theory. We show that in all such models, the inflaton field may decay into vector fields due to a nonminimal scalar-vector coupling. This coupling is compulsory for all scalars except N=2 hyperscalars. The proof is based on the fact that all extended supergravities described by symmetric coset spaces G/H have duality groups G of type E7, with exception of U(p,n) models. For N=2 we prove separately that special geometry requires a non-minimal scalar-vector coupling. Upon truncation to N=1 supergravity, extended models generically preserve the non-minimal scalar-vector coupling, with exception of U(p,n) models and hyperscalars. For some string theory/supergravity inflationary models, this coupling provides the only way to complete the process of creation of matter in the early universe.