Abstract:
We analyse f(R) modifications of Einstein's gravity as dark energy models in the light of their connection with chameleon theories. Formulated as scalar-tensor theories, the f(R) theories imply the existence of a strong coupling of the scalar field to matter. This would violate all experimental gravitational tests on deviations from Newton's law. Fortunately, the existence of a matter dependent mass and a thin shell effect allows one to alleviate these constraints. The thin shell condition also implies strong restrictions on the cosmological dynamics of the f(R) theories. As a consequence, we find that the equation of state of dark energy is constrained to be extremely close to -1 in the recent past. We also examine the potential effects of f(R) theories in the context of the Eot-wash experiments. We show that the requirement of a thin shell for the test bodies is not enough to guarantee a null result on deviations from Newton's law. As long as dark energy accounts for a sizeable fraction of the total energy density of the Universe, the constraints which we deduce also forbid any measurable deviation of the dark energy equation of state from -1. All in all, we find that both cosmological and laboratory tests imply that f(R) models are almost coincident with a Lambda-CDM model at the background level.

Abstract:
We briefly review f(R) theories, both in the metric and Palatini formulations, their scalar-tensor representations and the chameleon mechanism that could explain the absence of perceptible consequences in the Solar System. We also review f(T) theories, a different approach to modified gravity consisting in a deformation of the teleparallel equivalent of General Relativity. We show some applications to cosmology and cosmic strings. As f(R)'s, f(T) theories are not exempted from additional degrees of freedom; we also discuss this still open issue.

Abstract:
The Palatini $f(R)$ gravity, is able to probably explain the late time cosmic acceleration without the need for dark energy, is studied. In this paper, we investigate a number of $f(R)$ gravity theories in Palatini formalism by means of statefinder diagnosis. We consider two types of $f(R)$ theories: (i) $f(R)=R+\alpha R^{m}-\beta R^{-n}$ and (ii) $f(R)=R+\alpha ln R+\beta$. We find that the evolutionary trajectories in the $s-r$ and $q-r$ planes for various types of the Palatini $f(R)$ theories reveal different evolutionary properties of the universe. Additionally, we use the observational $H(z)$ data to constrain models of $f(R)$ gravity.

Abstract:
We study both analytically and numerically the gravitational fields of stars in f(R) gravity theories. We derive the generalized Tolman-Oppenheimer-Volkov equations for these theories and show that in metric f(R) models the Parameterized Post-Newtonian parameter $\gamma_{\rm PPN} = 1/2$ is a robust outcome for a large class of boundary conditions set at the center of the star. This result is also unchanged by introduction of dark matter in the Solar System. We find also a class of solutions with $\gamma_{\rm PPN} \approx 1$ in the metric $f(R)=R-\mu^4/R$ model, but these solutions turn out to be unstable and decay in time. On the other hand, the Palatini version of the theory is found to satisfy the Solar System constraints. We also consider compact stars in the Palatini formalism, and show that these models are not inconsistent with polytropic equations of state. Finally, we comment on the equivalence between f(R) gravity and scalar-tensor theories and show that many interesting Palatini f(R) gravity models can not be understood as a limiting case of a Jordan-Brans-Dicke theory with $\omega \to -3/2$.

Abstract:
The actual accelerated expansion of the universe continues being a mystery in physics. Some models had been proposed for this explanations, among them the dark energy, which however has problems of experimental character as well as theoretical. Other approximations, like modified gravity theories are an interesting alternative for this problem. Motivated in this approach we study cosmological models in f(R) theories which are natural extension of General Relativity with arbitrary functions of the Ricci scalar. One chapter has dedicated to obtain the modified field equations in the metric formalism of f(R) theories, including the discussion about boundary terms in the action. Later, we apply these equations in order to describe the dynamics of the universe, using for this as space-time, the FLRW universe. We focus our study in the problem of cosmological distances in f(R) theories. From the study of the Geodesic Deviation Equation (GDE) in this modified scenario, we obtain differential equations for the angular diameter distance, and as an extension, the Dyer-Roeder like equation in f(R) gravity.

Abstract:
The equation of motion for test particles in $f(R)$ modified theories of gravity is derived. By considering an explicit coupling between an arbitrary function of the scalar curvature, $R$, and the Lagrangian density of matter, it is shown that an extra force arises. This extra force is orthogonal to the four-velocity and the corresponding acceleration law is obtained in the weak field limit. Connections with MOND and with the Pioneer anomaly are further discussed.

Abstract:
In this work, we construct traversable wormhole geometries in the context of f(R) modified theories of gravity. We impose that the matter threading the wormhole satisfies the energy conditions, so that it is the effective stress-energy tensor containing higher order curvature derivatives that is responsible for the null energy condition violation. Thus, the higher order curvature terms, interpreted as a gravitational fluid, sustain these non-standard wormhole geometries, fundamentally different from their counterparts in general relativity. In particular, by considering specific shape functions and several equations of state, exact solutions for f(R) are found.

Abstract:
In this work, we consider an emergent universe in generalized gravity theories like the chameleon, f(R) and f(T) gravities. We reconstruct the potential of the chameleon field under the emergent scenario of the universe and observe its increasing nature with the evolution of the universe. We reveal that in the emergent universe scenario, the equation-of-state parameter behaves like quintessence in the case of f(R) gravity and like phantom in the case of f(T) gravity.

Abstract:
A novel analytical method for f(R) modified theories without matter in Friedmann-Lemaitre-Robertson-Walker spacetimes is introduced. The equation of motion for the scale factor in terms of cosmic time is reduced to the equation for the evolution of the Ricci scalar R with the Hubble parameter H. The solution of equation of motion for actions of the form of power law in Ricci scalar R, is presented with a detailed elaboration of the action quadratic in R. The reverse use of the introduced method is exemplified in finding functional forms f(R) which lead to specified scale factor functions. The analytical solutions are corroborated by numerical calculations with excellent agreement. Possible further applications to the phases of inflationary expansion and late-time acceleration as well as f(R) theories with radiation are outlined.

Abstract:
We study relativistic stars in the context of scalar tensor theories of gravity that try to account for the observed cosmic acceleration and satisfy the local gravity constraints via the chameleon mechanism. More specifically, we consider two types of models: scalar tensor theories with an inverse power law potential and f(R) theories. Using a relaxation algorithm, we construct numerically static relativistic stars, both for constant energy density configurations and for a polytropic equation of state. We can reach a gravitational potential up to $\Phi\sim 0.3$ at the surface of the star, even in f(R) theories with an "unprotected" curvature singularity. However, we find static configurations only if the pressure does not exceed one third of the energy density, except possibly in a limited region of the star (otherwise, one expects tachyonic instabilities to develop). This constraint is satisfied by realistic equations of state for neutron stars.