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Keywords:

  • Early universe;
  • Primordial fluctuations;
  • Quantum-to-classical transition

Abstract

We clarify the way in which cosmological perturbations of quantum origin, produced during inflation, assume classical properties. Two features play an important role in this process: First, the dynamics of fluctuations which are presently on large cosmological scales leads to a very peculiar state (highly squeezed) that is indistinguishable, in a precise sense, from a classical stochastic process. This holds for almost all initial quantum states. Second, the process of decoherence by interaction with the environment distinguishes the field amplitude basis as the robust pointer basis. We discuss in detail the interplay between these features and use simple analogies such as the free quantum particle to illustrate the main conceptual issues.