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Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation, and Cosmology


The Universe may harbor relics of the post-inflationary epoch in the form of a network of self-ordered scalar fields. Such fossils, while consistent with current cosmological data at trace levels, may leave too weak an imprint on the cosmic microwave background and the large-scale distribution of matter to allow for direct detection. The non-Gaussian statistics of the density perturbations induced by these fields, however, permit a direct means to probe for these relics. Here we calculate the bispectrum that arises in models of self-ordered scalar fields. We find a compact analytic expression for the bispectrum, evaluate it numerically, and provide a simple approximation that may be useful for data analysis. The bispectrum is largest for triangles that are aligned (have edges k1≃2k2≃2k3) as opposed to the local-model bispectrum, which peaks for squeezed triangles (k1≃k2≫k3), and the equilateral bispectrum, which peaks at k1≃k2≃k3. We estimate that this non-Gaussianity should be detectable by the Planck satellite if the contribution from self-ordering scalar fields to primordial perturbations is near the current upper limit.