[0909.3636] Testing Effective Quantum Gravity with Gravitational Waves from Extreme-Mass-Ratio Inspirals

Authors: Nicolas Yunes, C. F. Sopuerta

Date: 20 Sep 2009

Abstract: Testing deviation of GR is one of the main goals of the proposed {\emph{Laser Interferometer Space Antenna}}, a space-based gravitational-wave observatory. For the first time, we consistently compute the generation of gravitational waves from extreme-mass ratio inspirals (stellar compact objects into supermassive black holes) in a well-motivated alternative theory of gravity, that to date remains weakly constrained by double binary pulsar observations. The theory we concentrate on is Chern-Simons (CS) modified gravity, a 4-D, effective theory that is motivated both from string theory and loop-quantum gravity, and which enhances the Einstein-Hilbert action through the addition of a dynamical scalar field and the parity-violating Pontryagin density. We show that although point particles continue to follow geodesics in the modified theory, the background about which they inspiral is a modification to the Kerr metric, which imprints a CS correction on the gravitational waves emitted. CS modified gravitational waves are sufficiently different from the General Relativistic expectation that they lead to significant dephasing after 3 weeks of evolution, but such dephasing will probably not prevent detection of these signals, but instead lead to a systematic error in the determination of parameters. We end with a study of radiation-reaction in the modified theory and show that, to leading-order, energy-momentum emission is not CS modified, except possibly for the subdominant effect of scalar-field emission. The inclusion of radiation-reaction will allow for tests of CS modified gravity with space-borne detectors that might be two orders of magnitude larger than current binary pulsar bounds.

abs pdf

Sep 24, 2009

0909.3636 (/preprints)
2009-09-24, 08:47 [edit]

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