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Astrophysics and Space Science;347 (2)
The concept of negative temperatures has occasionally been used in connection with quantum systems. A recent example of this sort is reported in the paper of S. Braun et al. [Science 339, 52 (2013)], where an attractively interacting ensemble of ultracold atoms is investigated experimentally and found to correspond to a negative-temperature system since the entropy decreases with increasing energy at the high end of the energy spectrum. As the authors suggest, it would be of interest to investigate whether a suitable generalization of standard cosmological theory could be helpful, in order to elucidate the observed accelerated expansion of the universe usually explained in terms of a positive tensile stress (negative pressure). In the present note we take up this basic idea and investigate a generalization of the standard viscous cosmological theory, not by admitting negative temperatures but instead by letting the bulk viscosity take negative values. Evidently, such an approach breaks standard thermodynamics, but may actually be regarded to lead to the same kind of bizarre consequences as the standard approach of admitting the equation-of-state parameter w to be less than −1. In universe models dominated by negative viscosity we find that the fluid’s entropy decreases with time, as one would expect. Moreover, we find that the fluid transition from the quintessence region into the phantom region (thus passing the phantom divide w = −1) can actually be reversed. Also in generalizations of the CDM-universe models with a fluid having negative bulk viscosity we find that the viscosity decreases the expansion of the universe.
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