Linear Inflation from Axion Monodromy

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Inflationary scenarios with detectable primordial tensor perturbations typically require symmetries that can protect the potential over a super-Planckian field excursion. An old and natural idea is for the inflaton to be an axion protected by a shift symmetry. However, this has appeared difficult to realize in string theory because axion periodicities are sub-Planckian in known examples. I will explain how in compactifications containing wrapped fivebranes, the effective axion range is increased by monodromy: a single axion period can be traversed many times. The resulting potential is approximately linear and can source technically natural large-field inflation. As a result of the all-orders axionic shift symmetry, the potential receives negligible corrections from moduli stabilization.