Generalized perturbations in modified gravity and dark energy

  • Jonathan Pearson

Student thesis: Phd


When recent observational data and the GR+FRW+CDM model are combined we obtain the result that the Universe is accelerating, where the acceleration is due to some not-yet-understood "dark sector". There has been a considerable number of theoretical models constructed in an attempt to provide a description of the dark sector: dark energy and modified gravity theories. The proliferation of modified gravity and dark energy models has brought to light the need to construct a "generic" way to parameterize perturbations in the dark sector. In this thesis we discuss our new way of approaching this problem. We write down an effective action for linearized perturbations to the gravitational field equations for a given field content and use it to compute generalized gravitational field equations for linearized perturbations. Our approach is inspired by that taken in particle physics, where the most general modifications to the standard model are written down for a given field content that is compatible with some assumed symmetry (which we take to be isotropy of the background spatial sections). After applying the formalism we obtain equations of state for dark sector perturbations, where the number of free parameters for wide classes of theories are identified.
Date of Award31 Dec 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRichard Battye (Supervisor)


  • Perturbation theory
  • Modified gravity
  • Dark energy
  • Gravity
  • Cosmology
  • General Relativity

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