Interactions of cosmic superstrings Page: 2 of 22
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The idea that cosmic strings might have formed in the early universe has been around
for some time, being a generic consequence of U(1) symmetry breaking. If observed,
these long filaments of energy stretched across the sky would be the highest energy
objects ever seen. Even more spectacular is the idea that these cosmic strings might
be cosmic superstrings. This idea was first proposed by Witten , but for several
technical reasons this was found to be unfeasible. Progress in superstring theory,
particularly non-perturbative aspects, allowed the subject to be revisited recently  
with encouraging results. For more complete reviews of the subject see  .
Since it is now at least plausible that cosmic strings might be observed, it is im-
portant to know how one might differentiate conventional cosmic strings from cosmic
superstrings. The former are classical objects, being an effective description of a field
theory vortex solution. Superstrings, however cosmically extended they may be, are
inherently quantum objects. Ideally these quantum fluctuations would provide observ-
able differences in the cosmic string's behavior, allowing us to determine which type of
string it is. The issue is doubly important since experimental evidence of string theory
from colliders is not expected to be forthcoming in the near future, and this may be
the best opportunity to prove string theory is the correct theory of nature.
Wound states appear in the perturbative spectrum of the bosonic, type II and
heterotic string theories but there has been relatively little investigation into their
interactions. The first was by Polchinski and Dai   who used the optical theorem
to compute the reconnection probability for bosonic wound strings. Such scattering
was also studied by Khuri  finding that interaction is suppressed in the large-winding
limit, whereas Mende used path integral saddle points  to show that for some special
configurations it may still occur. Reconnection probabilities of wound superstrings were
studied in , and further investigation into the effect of backgrounds was performed
In this article we develop new methods for calculating cosmic superstring interac-
tions. We first review the reconnection process, and show explicitly that the probability
of reconnection can be obtained by summing over all final kinked states. This method
naturally generalizes to the possibility of emitting radiation during reconnection, and
allows us to calculate the probability for this as well. We discuss the spacetime trajec-
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Jackson, Mark G. Interactions of cosmic superstrings, article, June 1, 2007; Batavia, Illinois. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc888411/m1/2/: accessed February 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.