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Published April 15, 2017 | Submitted + Published
Journal Article Open

Testing gravity with pulsar scintillation measurements


We propose to use pulsar scintillation measurements to test predictions of alternative theories of gravity. Compared to single-path pulsar timing measurements, the scintillation measurements can achieve an accuracy of one part in a thousand within one wave period, which means picosecond scale resolution in time, due to the effect of multipath interference. Previous scintillation measurements of PSR B0834+06 have hours of data acquisition, making this approach sensitive to mHz gravitational waves. Therefore it has unique advantages in measuring the effect of gravity or other mechanisms on light propagation. We illustrate its application in constraining the scalar gravitational-wave background, in which case the sensitivities can be greatly improved with respect to previous limits. We expect much broader applications in testing gravity with existing and future pulsar scintillation observations.

Additional Information

© 2017 American Physical Society. Received 9 July 2016; published 26 April 2017. The authors appreciate many helpful comments from the referees, especially regarding many aspects of the scintillation discussions. H. Y. thanks I-Sheng Yang for very instructive discussions on the timing noise of pulsar scintillations and Nestor Ortiz for making Fig. 1. H.Y. acknowledges support from the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics and the Institute for Quantum Computing. A. N. is supported by NSF CAREER Grant No. PHY-1055103 and the H2020-MSCA-RISE-2015 Grant No. StronGrHEP-690904. A. N. thanks the hospitality of Perimeter Institute, where part of the work was performed. Research at Perimeter Institute is supported by the government of Canada through the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and by the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Research and Innovation.

Attached Files

Published - PhysRevD.95.084049.pdf

Submitted - 1606.03419.pdf


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