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Published August 15, 2003 | Published
Journal Article Open

Phantom Energy: Dark Energy with w<–1 Causes a Cosmic Doomsday


We explore the consequences that follow if the dark energy is phantom energy, in which the sum of the pressure and energy density is negative. The positive phantom-energy density becomes infinite in finite time, overcoming all other forms of matter, such that the gravitational repulsion rapidly brings our brief epoch of cosmic structure to a close. The phantom energy rips apart the Milky Way, solar system, Earth, and ultimately the molecules, atoms, nuclei, and nucleons of which we are composed, before the death of the Universe in a "big rip."

Additional Information

© 2003 The American Physical Society (Received 20 February 2003; published 13 August 2003) R. R. C. thanks the UCSB KITP for hospitality. This work was supported at Caltech by NASA NAG5-9821 and DoE DE-FG03-92-ER40701, at the KITP by NSF PHY99-07949, and at Dartmouth by NSF Grant No. PHY-0099543. N. N.W. was supported by NSF.

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