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Constraining Alternative Theories of Gravity Using Pulsar Timing Arrays

Cornish, Neil J. and O’Beirne, Logan and Taylor, Stephen R. and Yunes, Nicolás (2018) Constraining Alternative Theories of Gravity Using Pulsar Timing Arrays. Physical Review Letters, 120 (18). Art. No. 181101. ISSN 0031-9007. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20180504-095432874

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Abstract

The opening of the gravitational wave window by ground-based laser interferometers has made possible many new tests of gravity, including the first constraints on polarization. It is hoped that, within the next decade, pulsar timing will extend the window by making the first detections in the nanohertz frequency regime. Pulsar timing offers several advantages over ground-based interferometers for constraining the polarization of gravitational waves due to the many projections of the polarization pattern provided by the different lines of sight to the pulsars, and the enhanced response to longitudinal polarizations. Here, we show that existing results from pulsar timing arrays can be used to place stringent limits on the energy density of longitudinal stochastic gravitational waves. However, unambiguously distinguishing these modes from noise will be very difficult due to the large variances in the pulsar-pulsar correlation patterns. Existing upper limits on the power spectrum of pulsar timing residuals imply that the amplitude of vector longitudinal (VL) and scalar longitudinal (SL) modes at frequencies of 1/year are constrained, A_(VL) < 4×10^(−16) and A_(SL) < 4×10^(−17), while the bounds on the energy density for a scale invariant cosmological background are Ω_(VL)h^2 < 4×10^(−11) and Ω_(SL)h^2 < 3×10^(−13).


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.181101DOIArticle
https://arxiv.org/abs/1712.07132arXivDiscussion Paper
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Taylor, Stephen R.0000-0003-0264-1453
Yunes, Nicolás0000-0001-6147-1736
Additional Information:© 2018 American Physical Society. Received 18 December 2017; revised manuscript received 20 March 2018; published 4 May 2018. We appreciate Laura Sampson’s help with generating simulated data sets. We thank Xavier Siemens for suggesting that we extend our study to cover cosmological backgrounds, and we thank Justin Ellis for providing the posterior samples for the characteristic strain that were used to calibrate our likelihood model. L. O., N. J. C., and S. R. T. appreciate the support of the NSF Physics Frontiers Center Grant No. PFC-1430284. The research was partially carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. N. Y. also acknowledges support from the NSF CAREER Grant No. PHY-1250636 and NASA Grants No. NNX16AB98G and No. 80NSSC17M0041.
Group:TAPIR
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFPHY-1430284
NASA/JPL/CaltechUNSPECIFIED
NSFPHY-1250636
NASANNX16AB98G
NASA80NSSC17M0041
Issue or Number:18
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180504-095432874
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20180504-095432874
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:86224
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:04 May 2018 17:15
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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