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Extended Theories of Gravity can be considered a new paradigm to cure shortcomings of General Relativity at infrared and ultraviolet scales. They are an approach that, by preserving the undoubtedly positive results of Einstein's Theory, is aimed to address conceptual and experimental problems recently emerged in Astrophysics, Cosmology and High Energy Physics. In particular, the goal is to encompass, in a self-consistent scheme, problems like Inflation, Dark Energy, Dark Matter, Large Scale Structure and, first of all, to give at least an effective description of Quantum Gravity. We review the basic principles that any gravitational theory has to follow. The geometrical interpretation is discussed in a broad perspective in order to highlight the basic assumptions of General Relativity and its possible extensions in the general framework of gauge theories. Principles of such modifications are presented, focusing on specific classes of theories like f (R)-gravity and scalar-tensor gravity in the metric and Palatini approaches. The special role of torsion is also discussed. The conceptual features of these theories are fully explored and attention is payed to the issues of dynamical and conformal equivalence between them considering also the initial value problem. A number of viability criteria are presented considering the post-Newtonian and the post-Minkowskian limits. In particular, we discuss the problems of neutrino oscillations and gravitational waves in Extended Gravity. Finally, future perspectives of Extended Gravity are considered with possibility to go beyond a trial and error approach.Comment: 184 pages, 3 figures, survey to appear in Physics Report

We review different dark energy cosmologies. In particular, we present the ΛCDM cosmology, Little Rip and Pseudo-Rip universes, the phantom and quintessence cosmologies with Type I, II, III and IV finite-time future singularities and non-singular dark energy universes. In the first part, we explain the ΛCDM model and well-established observational tests which constrain the current cosmic acceleration. After that, we investigate the dark fluid universe where a fluid has quite general equation of state (EoS) [including inhomogeneous or imperfect EoS]. All the above dark energy cosmologies for different fluids are explicitly realized, and their properties are also explored. It is shown that all the above dark energy universes may mimic the ΛCDM model currently, consistent with the recent observational data. Furthermore, special attention is paid to the equivalence of different dark energy models. We consider single and multiple scalar field theories, tachyon scalar theory and holographic dark energy as models for current acceleration with the features of quintessence/phantom cosmology, and demonstrate their equivalence to the corresponding fluid descriptions. In the second part, we study another equivalent class of dark energy models which includes F (R) gravity as well as F (R) Hořava-Lifshitz gravity and the teleparallel f (T ) gravity.The cosmology of such models representing the ΛCDM-like universe or the accelerating expansion with the quintessence/phantom nature is described. Finally, we approach the problem of testing dark energy and alternative gravity models to general relativity by cosmography. We show that degeneration among parameters can be removed by accurate data analysis of large data samples and also present the examples.PACS numbers: 04.50. Kd, 95.36.+x, 2 Contents

Over the past decades, the role of torsion in gravity has been extensively investigated along the main direction of bringing gravity closer to its gauge formulation and incorporating spin in a geometric description. Here we review various torsional constructions, from teleparallel, to Einstein-Cartan, and metric-affine gauge theories, resulting in extending torsional gravity in the paradigm of f (T ) gravity, where f (T ) is an arbitrary function of the torsion scalar. Based on this theory, we further review the corresponding cosmological and astrophysical applications. In particular, we study cosmological solutions arising from f (T ) gravity, both at the background and perturbation levels, in different eras along the cosmic expansion. The f (T ) gravity construction can provide a theoretical interpretation of the late-time universe acceleration, alternative to a cosmological constant, and it can easily accommodate with the regular thermal expanding history including the radiation and cold dark matter dominated phases. Furthermore, if one traces back to very early times, for a certain class of f (T ) models, a sufficiently long period of inflation can be achieved and hence can be investigated by cosmic microwave background observations, or alternatively, the Big Bang singularity can be avoided at even earlier moments due to the appearance of non-singular bounces. Various observational constraints, especially the bounds coming from the large-scale structure data in the case of f (T ) cosmology, as well as the behavior of gravitational waves, are described in detail. Moreover, the spherically symmetric and black hole solutions of the theory are reviewed. Additionally, we discuss various extensions of the f (T ) paradigm. Finally, we consider the relation with other modified gravitational theories, such as those based on curvature, like f (R) gravity, trying to enlighten the subject of which formulation, or combination of formulations, might be more suitable for quantization ventures and cosmological applications. Contents

The issues of quintessence and cosmic acceleration can be discussed in the framework of higher order theories of gravity. We can define effective pressure and energy density directly connected to the Ricci scalar of curvature of a generic fourth order theory and then ask for the conditions to get an accelerated expansion. Exact accelerated expanding solutions can be achieved for several fourth order theories so that we get an alternative scheme to the standard quintessence scalar field, minimally coupled to gravity, usually adopted.

Quintessence issues can be achieved by taking into account higher order curvature invariants into the effective action of gravitational field. Such an approach is naturally related to fundamental theories of quantum gravity which predict higher order terms in loop expansion of quantum fields in curved space-times. In this framework, we obtain a class of cosmological solutions which are fitted against cosmological data. We reproduce encouraging results able to fit high redshift supernovae and WMAP observations. The age of the universe and other cosmological parameters are discussed in this context. PACS number(s): 98.80.Cq, 98.80. Hw, 04.

We investigate the effects of viscosity terms depending on the Hubble parameter and its derivatives in the dark energy equation of state. Such terms are possible if dark energy is a fictitious fluid originating from corrections to the Einstein general relativity as is the case for some braneworld inspired models or fourth order gravity. We consider two classes of models whose singularities in the early and late time universe have been studied by testing the models against the dimensionless coordinate distance to Type Ia Supernovae and radio-galaxies also including priors on the shift and the acoustic peak parameters. It turns out that both models are able to explain the observed cosmic speed up without the need of phantom (w < −1) dark energy. 98.80.Es, 97.60.Bw, 98.70.Vc

We give the formulation of the gravitational lensing theory in the strong field limit for a Schwarzschild black hole as a counterpart to the weak field approach. It is possible to expand the full black hole lens equation to work a simple analytical theory that describes at a high accuracy degree the physics in the strong field limit. In this way, we derive compact and reliable mathematical formulae for the position of additional critical curves, relativistic images and their magnification, arising in this limit.

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