[1006.3903] Motion of small bodies in general relativity: foundations and implementations of the self-force

Authors: Adam Pound

Date: 20 Jun 2010

Abstract: Extreme mass-ratio inspirals, in which solar-mass compact bodies spiral into supermassive black holes, are an important potential source for gravitational wave detectors. Because of the extreme mass-ratio, one can model these systems using perturbation theory. However, in order to relate the motion of the small body to the emitted waveform, one requires a model that is accurate on extremely long timescales. Additionally, in order to avoid intractable divergences, one requires a model that treats the small body as asymptotically small rather than exactly pointlike. Both of these difficulties can be resolved by using techniques of singular perturbation theory. I begin this dissertation with an analysis of singular perturbation theory on manifolds, including the common techniques of matched asymptotic expansions and two-timescale expansions. I then formulate a systematic asymptotic expansion in which the metric perturbation due to the body is expanded while a representative worldline is held fixed, and I contrast it with a regular expansion in which both the metric and the worldline must be expanded. This results in an approximation that is potentially uniformly accurate on long timescales. The equation of motion for the body's fixed worldline is determined by performing a local-in-space expansion in the neighbourhood of the body. Using this local expansion as boundary data, I construct a global solution to the perturbative Einstein equation. To concretely characterize orbits, I next devise a relativistic generalization of the Newtonian method of osculating orbits. Making use of this method and two-timescale expansions, I examine the utility of adiabatic approximations that can forgo an explicit calculation of the force.

abs pdf

Jun 21, 2010

1006.3903 (/preprints)
2010-06-21, 19:43 [edit]

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