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Physics  2003 

Dark Energy Present and Future

DOI: 10.1063/1.1627737

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By studying the present cosmological data, particularly on CMB, SNeIA and LSS, we find that the future fate of the universe, for simple linear models of the dark energy equation-of-state, can vary between the extremes of (I) a divergence of the scale factor in as little as 7 Gyr; (II) an infinite lifetime of the universe with dark energy dominant for all future time; (III) a disappearing dark energy where the universe asymptotes as $t \to \infty$ to $a(t) \sim t^{2/3}$ {\it i.e.} matter domination. Precision cosmological data hint that a dark energy with equation of state $w = P/\rho < -1$ and hence dubious stability is viable. Here we discuss for any $w$ nucleation from $\Lambda > 0$ to $\Lambda = 0$ in a first-order phase transition. The critical radius is argued to be at least of galactic size and the corresponding nucleation rate glacial, thus underwriting the dark energy's stability and rendering remote any microscopic effect.


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