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We study the role of nonperturbative quantum gravity effects in the ekpyrotic/cyclic model using the effective framework of loop quantum cosmology in the presence of anisotropies. We show that quantum geometric modifications to the dynamical equations near the Planck scale as understood in the quantization of Bianchi-I spacetime in loop quantum cosmology lead to the resolution of classical singularity and result in a nonsingular transition of the Universe from the contracting to the expanding branch. In the Planck regime, the Universe undergoes multiple small bounces and the anisotropic shear remains bounded throughout the evolution. A novel feature, which is absent for isotropic models, is a natural turn-around of the moduli field from the negative region of the potential leading to a cyclic phenomena as envisioned in the original paradigm. Our work suggests that incorporation of quantum gravitational effects in the ekpyrotic/cyclic model may lead to a viable scenario without any violation of the null energy condition. © 2009 The American Physical Society.

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Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology