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

Probing dynamical gravity with the polarization of continuous gravitational waves


The direct detection of gravitational waves provides the opportunity to measure fundamental aspects of gravity which have never been directly probed before, including the polarization of gravitational waves. In the context of searches for continuous waves from known pulsars, we present novel methods to detect signals of any polarization content, measure the modes present and place upper limits on the amplitude of nontensorial components. This will allow us to obtain new model-independent, dynamical constraints on deviations from general relativity. We test this framework on multiple potential sources using simulated data from three advanced-era detectors at design sensitivity. We find that signals of any polarization will become detectable and distinguishable for characteristic strains h ≳ 3×10^(−27)√1  yr/T, for an observation time T. We also find that our ability to detect nontensorial components depends only on the power present in those modes, irrespective of the strength of the tensorial strain.

Additional Information

© 2017 American Physical Society. Received 23 March 2017; published 15 August 2017. The authors would like to thank Ian Jones and Walter Del Pozzo for carefully reading this manuscript and providing insightful suggestions; we also thank Tjonnie Li and Carver Mead, as well as many colleagues in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration Continuous Waves group, for many useful comments. LIGO was constructed by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology with funding from the National Science Foundation and operates under cooperative Agreement No. PHY-0757058. We are grateful for computational resources provided by Cardiff University and funded by an STFC grant supporting UK Involvement in the Operation of Advanced LIGO. M. P. is funded by the STFC under Grant No. ST/N005422/1. Plots produced using Matplotlib [48]. This paper carries LIGO Document No. LIGO-P1600305.

Attached Files

Published - PhysRevD.96.042001.pdf

Submitted - 1703.07530.pdf


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August 19, 2023
October 17, 2023