[1110.0410] The Electromagnetic Christodoulou Memory Effect and its Application to Neutron Star Binary Mergers

Authors: Lydia Bieri, PoNing Chen, Shing-Tung Yau

Date: 3 Oct 2011

Abstract: Gravitational waves are predicted by the general theory of relativity. It has been shown that gravitational waves have a nonlinear memory, displacing test masses permanently. This is called the Christodoulou memory. We proved that the electromagnetic field contributes at highest order to the nonlinear memory effect of gravitational waves, enlarging the permanent displacement of test masses. In experiments like LISA or LIGO which measure distances of test masses, the Christodoulou memory will manifest itself as a permanent displacement of these objects. It has been suggested to detect the Christodoulou memory effect using radio telescopes investigating small changes in pulsar's pulse arrival times. The latter experiments are based on present-day technology and measure changes in frequency. In the present paper, we study the electromagnetic Christodoulou memory effect and compute it for binary neutron star mergers. These are typical sources of gravitational radiation. During these processes, not only mass and momenta are radiated away in form of gravitational waves, but also very strong magnetic fields are produced and radiated away. Moreover, a large portion of the energy is carried away by neutrinos. We give constraints on the conditions, where the energy transported by electromagnetic radiation is of similar or slightly higher order than the energy radiated in gravitational waves or in form of neutrinos. We find that for coalescing neutron stars, large magnetic fields magnify the Christodoulou memory as long as the gaseous environment is sufficiently rarefied. Thus the observed effect on test masses of a laser interferometer gravitational wave detector will be enlarged by the contribution of the electromagnetic field. Therefore, the present results are important for the planned experiments.

abs pdf

Oct 04, 2011

1110.0410 (/preprints)
2011-10-04, 17:40 [edit]

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