Dark Side of Weyl Gravity
We address the issue of a dynamical breakdown of scale invariance in quantum Weyl gravity together with related cosmological implications. In the first part, we build on our previous work [Phys. Rev. D2020, 101, 044050], where we found a non-trivial renormalization group fixed point in the infrared sector of quantum Weyl gravity. Here, we prove that the ensuing non-Gaussian IR fixed point is renormalization scheme independent. This confirms the feasibility of the analog of asymptotic safety
... ymptotic safety scenario for quantum Weyl gravity in the IR. Some features, including non-analyticity and a lack of autonomy, of the system of β-functions near a turning point of the renormalization group at intermediate energies are also described. We further discuss an extension of the renormalization group analysis to the two-loop level. In particular, we show universal properties of the system of β-functions related to three couplings associated with C2 (Weyl square), G (Gauss–Bonnet), and R2 (Ricci curvature square) terms. Finally, we discuss various technical and conceptual issues associated with the conformal (trace) anomaly and propose possible remedies. In the second part, we analyze physics in the broken phase. In particular, we show that, in the low-energy sector of the broken phase, the theory looks like Starobinsky f(R) gravity with a gravi-cosmological constant that has a negative sign in comparison to the usual matter-induced cosmological constant. We discuss implications for cosmic inflation and highlight a non-trivial relation between Starobinsky's parameter and the gravi-cosmological constant. Salient issues, including possible UV completions of quantum Weyl gravity and the role of the trace anomaly matching, are also discussed.