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Using techniques from loop quantum gravity, the standard theory of cosmological perturbations was recently generalized to encompass the Planck era. We now apply this framework to explore pre-inflationary dynamics. The framework enables us to isolate and resolve the true trans-Planckian difficulties, with interesting lessons both for theory and observations. Specifically, for a large class of initial conditions at the bounce, we are led to a self consistent extension of the inflationary paradigm over the 11 orders of magnitude in density and curvature, from the big bounce to the onset of slow roll. In addition, for a narrow window of initial conditions, there are departures from the standard paradigm, with novel effects - such as a modification of the consistency relation between the ratio of the tensor to scalar power spectrum and the tensor spectral index, as well as a new source for non-Gaussianities - which could extend the reach of cosmological observations to the deep Planck regime of the early universe. © 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd.

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Classical and Quantum Gravity