Authors: Priscilla Canizares (1,2), Jonathan R. Gair (1), Carlos F. Sopuerta (2) ((1) IoA, Cambridge, (2) ICE, CSIC-IEEC)
Date: 6 May 2012
Abstract: [abridged] The detection of gravitational waves from extreme-mass-ratio (EMRI) binaries, comprising a stellar-mass compact object orbiting around a massive black hole, is one of the main targets for low-frequency gravitational-wave detectors in space, like the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA or eLISA/NGO). The long-duration gravitational-waveforms emitted by such systems encode the structure of the strong field region of the massive black hole, in which the inspiral occurs. The detection and analysis of EMRIs will therefore allow us to study the geometry of massive black holes and determine whether their nature is as predicted by General Relativity and even to test whether General Relativity is the correct theory to describe the dynamics of these systems. To achieve this, EMRI modeling in alternative theories of gravity is required to describe the generation of gravitational waves. In this paper, we explore to what extent EMRI observations with LISA or eLISA/NGO might be able to distinguish between General Relativity and a particular modification of it, known as Dynamical Chern-Simons Modified Gravity. Our analysis is based on a parameter estimation study that uses approximate gravitational waveforms obtained via a radiative-adiabatic method and is restricted to a five-dimensional subspace of the EMRI configuration space. This includes a Chern-Simons parameter that controls the strength of gravitational deviations from General Relativity. We find that, if Dynamical Chern-Simons Modified Gravity is the correct theory, an observatory like LISA or even eLISA/NGO should be able to measure the Chern-Simons parameter with fractional errors below 5%. If General Relativity is the true theory, these observatories should put bounds on this parameter at the level xiˆ(¼) < 10ˆ4 km, which is four orders of magnitude better than current Solar System bounds.
© M. Vallisneri 2012 — last modified on 2010/01/29
Tantum in modicis, quantum in maximis