Conformal Invariance, Dark Energy, and CMB Non-Gaussianity
In addition to simple scale invariance, a universe dominated by dark energy naturally gives rise to correlation functions possessing full conformal invariance. This is due to the mathematical isomorphism between the conformal group of certain 3 dimensional slices of de Sitter space and the de Sitter isometry group SO(4,1). In the standard homogeneous isotropic cosmological model in which primordial density perturbations are generated during a long vacuum energy dominated de Sitter phase, the embedding of flat spatial sections in de Sitter space induces a conformal invariant perturbation spectrum and definite prediction for the shape of the non-Gaussian CMB bispectrum. In the case in which the density fluctuations are generated instead on the de Sitter horizon, conformal invariance of the horizon embedding implies a different but also quite definite prediction for the angular correlations of CMB non-Gaussianity on the sky. Each of these forms for the bispectrum is intrinsic to the symmetries of de Sitter space and in that sense, independent of specific model assumptions. Each is different from the predictions of single field slow roll inflation models which rely on the breaking of de Sitter invariance. We propose a quantum origin for the CMB fluctuations in the scalar gravitational sector from the conformal anomaly that could give rise to these non-Gaussianities without a slow roll inflaton field, and argue that conformal invariance also leads to the expectation for the relation n_S-1=n_T between the spectral indices of the scalar and tensor power spectrum. Confirmation of this prediction or detection of non-Gaussian correlations in the CMB of one of the bispectral shape functions predicted by conformal invariance can be used both to establish the physical origins of primordial density fluctuations and distinguish between different dynamical models of cosmological vacuum dark energy.