The galileon as a local modification of gravity

Nicolis, Alberto
Rattazzi, Riccardo
Trincherini, Enrico
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In the DGP model, the ``self-accelerating'' solution is plagued by a ghost instability, which makes the solution untenable. This fact as well as all interesting departures from GR are fully captured by a four-dimensional effective Lagrangian, valid at distances smaller than the present Hubble scale. The 4D effective theory involves a relativistic scalar \pi, universally coupled to matter and with peculiar derivative self-interactions. In this paper, we study the connection between self-acceleration and the presence of ghosts for a quite generic class of theories that modify gravity in the infrared. These theories are defined as those that at distances shorter than cosmological, reduce to a certain generalization of the DGP 4D effective theory. We argue that for infrared modifications of GR locally due to a universally coupled scalar, our generalization is the only one that allows for a robust implementation of the Vainshtein effect--the decoupling of the scalar from matter in gravitationally bound systems--necessary to recover agreement with solar system tests. Our generalization involves an internal ``galilean'' invariance, under which \pi's gradient shifts by a constant. This symmetry constrains the structure of the \pi Lagrangian so much so that in 4D there exist only five terms that can yield sizable non-linearities without introducing ghosts. We show that for such theories in fact there are ``self-accelerating'' deSitter solutions with no ghost-like instabilities. In the presence of compact sources, these solutions can support spherically symmetric, Vainshtein-like non-linear perturbations that are also stable against small fluctuations. [Short version for arxiv]
Comment: 35 pages; minor modifications, a typo corrected in eq. (114)
High Energy Physics - Theory, Astrophysics, General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology