Tunneling wave function of the universe

Alexander Vilenkin, Masaki Yamada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


The tunneling wave function of the universe is investigated in a minisuperspace framework of a de Sitter universe with a quantum scalar field, treated as a perturbation. We consider three different approaches to defining the tunneling wave function: (1) tunneling boundary conditions in superspace, (2) Lorentzian path integral, and (3) quantum tunneling from initial universe of a vanishing size. We show that the superspace approach requires Robin boundary conditions for the scalar field modes, the path integral approach requires adding an appropriate boundary term to the scalar field action, and the initial universe approach requires the initial quantum state of the scalar field to be Euclidean vacuum. We find that all three approaches yield identical wave functions and that scalar field fluctuations are well behaved, contrary to earlier claims in the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number066003
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sept 12


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