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A key result of isotropic loop quantum cosmology is the existence of a quantum bounce which occurs when the energy density of the matter field approaches a universal maximum close to the Planck density. Though the bounce has been exhibited in various matter models, due to severe computational challenges, some important questions have so far remained unaddressed. These include the demonstration of the bounce for widely spread states, its detailed properties for the states when matter field probes regions close to the Planck volume and the reliability of the continuum effective spacetime description in general. In this manuscript we rigorously answer these questions using the Chimera numerical scheme for the isotropic spatially flat model sourced with a massless scalar field. We show that, as expected from an exactly solvable model, the quantum bounce is a generic feature of states even with a very wide spread, and for those which bounce much closer to the Planck volume. We perform a detailed analysis of the departures from the effective description and find some expected, and some surprising results. At a coarse level of description, the effective dynamics can be regarded as a good approximation to the underlying quantum dynamics unless the states correspond to small scalar field momenta, in which case they bounce closer to the Planck volume or are very widely spread. Quantifying the amount of discrepancy between the quantum and the effective dynamics, we find that the departure between them depends in a subtle and non-monotonic way on the field momentum and different fluctuations. Interestingly, the departures are generically found to be such that the effective dynamics overestimates the spacetime curvature, and underestimates the volume at the bounce. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.

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Classical and Quantum Gravity