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Advances in Astronomy
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 380507, 28 pages
Review Article

Cosmic Strings and Their Induced Non-Gaussianities in the Cosmic Microwave Background

Institute of Mathematics and Physics, Centre for Cosmology, Particle Physics and Phenomenology, Louvain University, 2 Chemin du Cyclotron, 348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Received 15 January 2010; Accepted 27 May 2010

Academic Editor: Eiichiro Komatsu

Copyright © 2010 Christophe Ringeval. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Motivated by the fact that cosmological perturbations of inflationary quantum origin were born Gaussian, the search for non-Gaussianities in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) anisotropies is considered as the privileged probe of nonlinear physics in the early universe. Cosmic strings are active sources of gravitational perturbations and incessantly produce non-Gaussian distortions in the CMB. Even if, on the currently observed angular scales, they can only contribute a small fraction of the CMB angular power spectrum, cosmic strings could actually be the main source of its non-Gaussianities. In this paper, after having reviewed the basic cosmological properties of a string network, we present the signatures Nambu-Goto cosmic strings would induce in various observables ranging from the one-point function of the temperature anisotropies to the bispectrum and trispectrum. It is shown that string imprints are significantly different than those expected from the primordial type of non-Gaussianity and could therefore be easily distinguished.