We review the cosmological implications of the flat directions of the minimally supersymmetric standard model (MSSM). We describe how field condensates are created along the flat directions because of inflationary fluctuations. The post-inflationary dynamical evolution of the field condensate can charge up the condensate with B or L in a process known as Affleck–Dine baryogenesis. Condensate fluctuations can give rise to both adiabatic and isocurvature density perturbations and could be observable in future cosmic microwave experiments. In many cases the condensate is however not the state of lowest energy but fragments, with many interesting cosmological consequences. Fragmentation is triggered by inflation-induced perturbations and the condensate lumps will eventually form non-topological solitons, known as Q-balls. Their properties depend on how supersymmetry breaking is transmitted to the MSSM; if by gravity, then the Q-balls are semi-stable but long-lived and can be the source of all the baryons and LSP dark matter; if by gauge interactions, the Q-balls can be absolutely stable and form dark matter that can be searched for directly. We also discuss some cosmological applications of generic flat directions and Q-balls in the context of self-interacting dark matter, inflatonic solitons and extra dimensions.
First review article which describes the dynamics of supersymmetric fields during and after inflation. We categorize all the supersymmetric fields which condense during inflation and play a very important role in understanding the cosmic microwave background radiation, matter-anti-matter asymmetry and non-baryonic matter present in the universe. 121 citations (SPIRES). RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Physics