[1105.2088] Gravitational Wave Tests of General Relativity with the Parameterized Post-Einsteinian Framework

Authors: Neil Cornish, Laura Sampson, Nico Yunes, Frans Pretorius

Date: 11 May 2011

Abstract: Gravitational wave astronomy has tremendous potential for studying extreme astrophysical phenomena and exploring fundamental physics. The waves produced by binary black hole mergers will provide a pristine environment in which to study strong field, dynamical gravity. Extracting detailed information about these systems requires accurate theoretical models of the gravitational wave signals. If gravity is not described by General Relativity, analyses that are based on waveforms derived from Einstein's field equations could result in parameter biases and a loss of detection efficiency. A new class of "parameterized post-Einsteinian" (ppE) waveforms has been proposed to cover this eventuality. Here we apply the ppE approach to simulated data from a network of advanced ground based interferometers (aLIGO/aVirgo) and from a future spaced based interferometer (LISA). Bayesian inference and model selection are used to investigate parameter biases, and to determine the level at which departures from general relativity can be detected. We find that in some cases the parameter biases from assuming the wrong theory can be severe. We also find that gravitational wave observations will beat the existing bounds on deviations from general relativity derived from the orbital decay of binary pulsars by a large margin across a wide swath of parameter space.

abs pdf

May 17, 2011

1105.2088 (/preprints)
2011-05-17, 14:41 [edit]

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