[1012.3144] Effective Gravitational Wave Stress-energy Tensor in Alternative Theories of Gravity

Authors: Leo C. Stein, Nicolas Yunes, Scott A. Hughes

Date: 14 Dec 2010

Abstract: The inspiral of binary systems in vacuum is controlled by the rate of change of the system's energy, angular momentum and Carter constant. In alternative theories, such a change is induced by the effective stress-energy carried away by gravitational radiation and any other propagating degrees of freedom. We employ perturbation theory and the short-wavelength approximation to compute this stress-energy tensor in a wide class of alternative theories. We find that this tensor is generally a modification of that first computed by Isaacson, where the corrections can dominate over the general relativistic term. In a wide class of theories, however, these corrections identically vanish at asymptotically flat, future, null infinity, reducing the stress-energy tensor to Isaacson's. We exemplify this phenomenon by first considering dynamical Chern-Simons modified gravity, which corrects the action via a scalar field and the contraction of the Riemann tensor and its dual. We then consider a wide class of theories with dynamical scalar fields coupled to higher-order curvature invariants, and show that the gravitational wave stress-energy tensor still reduces to Isaacson's. The calculations presented in this paper are crucial to perform systematic tests of such modified gravity theories through the orbital decay of binary pulsars or through gravitational wave observations.

abs pdf

Dec 15, 2010

1012.3144 (/preprints)
2010-12-15, 14:27 [edit]

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