results for au:Sakellariadou_M in:gr-qc

- We develop a powerful analytical formalism for calculating the energy density of the stochastic gravitational wave background, including a full description of its anisotropies. This is completely general, and can be applied to any astrophysical or cosmological source. As an example, we apply these tools to the case of a network of Nambu-Goto cosmic strings. We find that the anisotropies are relatively insensitive to the choice of model for the string network, but that they are very sensitive to the value of the string tension $G\mu$.
- Feb 15 2018 gr-qc arXiv:1802.05241v1We report on a new all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency band 475-2000 Hz and with a frequency time derivative in the range of [-1.0e-8, +1e-9] Hz/s. Potential signals could be produced by a nearby spinning and slightly non-axisymmetric isolated neutron star in our galaxy. This search uses the data from Advanced LIGO's first observational run O1. No gravitational wave signals were observed, and upper limits were placed on their strengths. For completeness, results from the separately published low frequency search 20-475 Hz are included as well. Our lowest upper limit on worst-case (linearly polarized) strain amplitude h_0 is 4e-25 near 170 Hz, while at the high end of our frequency range we achieve a worst-case upper limit of 1.3e-24. For a circularly polarized source (most favorable orientation), the smallest upper limit obtained is ~1.5e-25.
- Dec 05 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1712.01168v1Cosmic strings are topological defects which can be formed in GUT-scale phase transitions in the early universe. They are also predicted to form in the context of string theory. The main mechanism for a network of Nambu-Goto cosmic strings to lose energy is through the production of loops and the subsequent emission of gravitational waves, thus offering an experimental signature for the existence of cosmic strings. Here we report on the analysis conducted to specifically search for gravitational-wave bursts from cosmic string loops in the data of Advanced LIGO 2015-2016 observing run (O1). No evidence of such signals was found in the data, and as a result we set upper limits on the cosmic string parameters for three recent loop distribution models. In this paper, we initially derive constraints on the string tension $G\mu$ and the intercommutation probability, using not only the burst analysis performed on the O1 data set, but also results from the previously published LIGO stochastic O1 analysis, pulsar timing arrays, cosmic microwave background and Big-Bang nucleosynthesis experiments. We show that these data sets are complementary in that they probe gravitational waves produced by cosmic string loops during very different epochs. Finally, we show that the data sets exclude large parts of the parameter space of the three loop distribution models we consider.
- Nov 21 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1711.06843v1We present the results of a search for long-duration gravitational wave transients in the data of the LIGO Hanford and LIGO Livingston second generation detectors between September 2015 and January 2016, with a total observational time of 49 days. The search targets gravitational wave transients of \unit[10 -- 500]s duration in a frequency band of \unit[24 -- 2048]Hz, with minimal assumptions about the signal waveform, polarization, source direction, or time of occurrence. No significant events were observed. %All candidate triggers were consistent with the expected background, As a result we set 90\% confidence upper limits on the rate of long-duration gravitational wave transients for different types of gravitational wave signals. We also show that the search is sensitive to sources in the Galaxy emitting at least $\sim$ \unit[$10^{-8}$]$\mathrm{M_{\odot} c^2}$ in gravitational waves.
- Nov 16 2017 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1711.05578v1On June 8, 2017 at 02:01:16.49 UTC, a gravitational-wave signal from the merger of two stellar-mass black holes was observed by the two Advanced LIGO detectors with a network signal-to-noise ratio of 13. This system is the lightest black hole binary so far observed, with component masses $12^{+7}_{-2}\,M_\odot$ and $7^{+2}_{-2}\,M_\odot$ (90% credible intervals). These lie in the range of measured black hole masses in low-mass X-ray binaries, thus allowing us to compare black holes detected through gravitational waves with electromagnetic observations. The source's luminosity distance is $340^{+140}_{-140}$ Mpc, corresponding to redshift $0.07^{+0.03}_{-0.03}$. We verify that the signal waveform is consistent with the predictions of general relativity.
- Oct 26 2017 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1710.09320v1The first observation of a binary neutron star coalescence by the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo gravitational-wave detectors offers an unprecedented opportunity to study matter under the most extreme conditions. After such a merger, a compact remnant is left over whose nature depends primarily on the masses of the inspiralling objects and on the equation of state of nuclear matter. This could be either a black hole or a neutron star (NS), with the latter being either long-lived or too massive for stability implying delayed collapse to a black hole. Here, we present a search for gravitational waves from the remnant of the binary neutron star merger GW170817 using data from Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo. We search for short ($\lesssim1$ s) and intermediate-duration ($\lesssim 500$ s) signals, which includes gravitational-wave emission from a hypermassive NS or supramassive NS, respectively. We find no signal from the post-merger remnant. Our derived strain upper limits are more than an order of magnitude larger than those predicted by most models. For short signals, our best upper limit on the root-sum-square of the gravitational-wave strain emitted from 1--4 kHz is $h_{\rm rss}^{50\%}=2.1\times 10^{-22}$ Hz$^{-1/2}$ at 50% detection efficiency. For intermediate-duration signals, our best upper limit at 50% detection efficiency is $h_{\rm rss}^{50\%}=8.4\times 10^{-22}$ Hz$^{-1/2}$ for a millisecond magnetar model, and $h_{\rm rss}^{50\%}=5.9\times 10^{-22}$ Hz$^{-1/2}$ for a bar-mode model. These results indicate that post-merger emission from a similar event may be detectable when advanced detectors reach design sensitivity or with next-generation detectors.
- Oct 17 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1710.05837v1The LIGO Scientific and Virgo Collaborations have announced the first detection of gravitational waves from the coalescence of two neutron stars. The merger rate of binary neutron stars estimated from this event suggests that distant, unresolvable binary neutron stars create a significant astrophysical stochastic gravitational-wave background. The binary neutron star background will add to the background from binary black holes, increasing the amplitude of the total astrophysical background relative to previous expectations. In the Advanced LIGO-Virgo frequency band most sensitive to stochastic backgrounds (near 25 Hz), we predict a total astrophysical background with amplitude $\Omega_{\rm GW} (f=25 \text{Hz}) = 1.8_{-1.3}^{+2.7} \times 10^{-9}$ with $90\%$ confidence, compared with $\Omega_{\rm GW} (f=25 \text{Hz}) = 1.1_{-0.7}^{+1.2} \times 10^{-9}$ from binary black holes alone. Assuming the most probable rate for compact binary mergers, we find that the total background may be detectable with a signal-to-noise-ratio of 3 after 40 months of total observation time, based on the expected timeline for Advanced LIGO and Virgo to reach their design sensitivity.
- Oct 09 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1710.02185v3The first observing run of Advanced LIGO spanned 4 months, from September 12, 2015 to January 19, 2016, during which gravitational waves were directly detected from two binary black hole systems, namely GW150914 and GW151226. Confident detection of gravitational waves requires an understanding of instrumental transients and artifacts that can reduce the sensitivity of a search. Studies of the quality of the detector data yield insights into the cause of instrumental artifacts and data quality vetoes specific to a search are produced to mitigate the effects of problematic data. In this paper, the systematic removal of noisy data from analysis time is shown to improve the sensitivity of searches for compact binary coalescences. The output of the PyCBC pipeline, which is a python-based code package used to search for gravitational wave signals from compact binary coalescences, is used as a metric for improvement. GW150914 was a loud enough signal that removing noisy data did not improve its significance. However, the removal of data with excess noise decreased the false alarm rate of GW151226 by more than two orders of magnitude, from 1 in 770 years to less than 1 in 186000 years.
- Oct 09 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1710.02327v2Spinning neutron stars asymmetric with respect to their rotation axis are potential sources of continuous gravitational waves for ground-based interferometric detectors. In the case of known pulsars a fully coherent search, based on matched filtering, which uses the position and rotational parameters obtained from electromagnetic observations, can be carried out. Matched filtering maximizes the signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio, but a large sensitivity loss is expected in case of even a very small mismatch between the assumed and the true signal parameters. For this reason, \it narrow-band analyses methods have been developed, allowing a fully coherent search for gravitational waves from known pulsars over a fraction of a hertz and several spin-down values. In this paper we describe a narrow-band search of eleven pulsars using data from Advanced LIGO's first observing run. Although we have found several initial outliers, further studies show no significant evidence for the presence of a gravitational wave signal. Finally, we have placed upper limits on the signal strain amplitude lower than the spin-down limit for 5 of the 11 targets over the bands searched: in the case of J1813-1749 the spin-down limit has been beaten for the first time. For an additional 3 targets, the median upper limit across the search bands is below the spin-down limit. This is the most sensitive narrow-band search for continuous gravitational waves carried out so far.
- Sep 28 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1709.09203v1We present results from the first directed search for nontensorial gravitational waves. While general relativity allows for tensorial (plus and cross) modes only, a generic metric theory may, in principle, predict waves with up to six different polarizations. This analysis is sensitive to continuous signals of scalar, vector or tensor polarizations, and does not rely on any specific theory of gravity. After searching data from the first observation run of the advanced LIGO detectors for signals at twice the rotational frequency of 200 known pulsars, we find no evidence of gravitational waves of any polarization. We report the first upper limits for scalar and vector strains, finding values comparable in magnitude to previously-published limits for tensor strain. Our results may be translated into constraints on specific alternative theories of gravity.
- Sep 28 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1709.09660v3On August 14, 2017 at 10:30:43 UTC, the Advanced Virgo detector and the two Advanced LIGO detectors coherently observed a transient gravitational-wave signal produced by the coalescence of two stellar mass black holes, with a false-alarm-rate of $\lesssim$ 1 in 27000 years. The signal was observed with a three-detector network matched-filter signal-to-noise ratio of 18. The inferred masses of the initial black holes are $30.5_{-3.0}^{+5.7}$ Msun and $25.3_{-4.2}^{+2.8}$ Msun (at the 90% credible level). The luminosity distance of the source is $540_{-210}^{+130}~\mathrm{Mpc}$, corresponding to a redshift of $z=0.11_{-0.04}^{+0.03}$. A network of three detectors improves the sky localization of the source, reducing the area of the 90% credible region from 1160 deg$^2$ using only the two LIGO detectors to 60 deg$^2$ using all three detectors. For the first time, we can test the nature of gravitational wave polarizations from the antenna response of the LIGO-Virgo network, thus enabling a new class of phenomenological tests of gravity.
- Observations of gravitational radiation from compact binary systems provide an unprecedented opportunity to test General Relativity in the strong field dynamical regime. In this paper, we investigate how future observations of gravitational radiation from binary neutron star mergers might provide constraints on finite-range forces from a universally coupled massive scalar field. Such scalar degrees of freedom are a characteristic feature of many extensions of General Relativity. For concreteness, we work in the context of metric $f(R)$ gravity, which is equivalent to General Relativity and a universally coupled scalar field with a non-linear potential whose form is fixed by the choice of $f(R)$. In theories where neutron stars (or other compact objects) obtain a significant scalar charge, the resulting attractive finite-range scalar force has implications for both the inspiral and merger phases of binary systems. We first present an analysis of the inspiral dynamics in Newtonian limit, and forecast the constraints on the mass of the scalar and charge of the compact objects for the Advanced LIGO gravitational wave observatory. We then perform a comparative study of binary neutron star mergers in General Relativity with those of a one-parameter model of $f(R)$ gravity using fully relativistic hydrodynamical simulations. These simulations elucidate the effects of the scalar on the merger and post-merger dynamics. We comment on the utility of the full waveform (inspiral, merger, post-merger) to probe different regions of parameter space for both the particular model of $f(R)$ gravity studied here and for finite-range scalar forces more generally.
- We study the dynamics of perturbations representing deviations from perfect isotropy in the context of the emergent cosmology obtained from the group field theory formalism for quantum gravity. Working in the mean field approximation of the group field theory formulation of the Lorentzian EPRL model, we derive the equations of motion for such perturbations to first order. We then study these equations around a specific simple isotropic background, characterised by the fundamental representation of $\mbox{SU(2)}$, and in the regime of the effective cosmological dynamics corresponding to the bouncing region replacing the classical singularity, well approximated by the free GFT dynamics. In this particular example, we identify a region in the parameter space of the model such that perturbations can be large at the bounce but become negligible away from it, i.e. when the background enters the non-linear regime. We also study the departures from perfect isotropy by introducing specific quantities, such as the surface-area-to-volume ratio and the effective volume per quantum, which make them quantitative.
- Jul 11 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1707.02667v2We report on an all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency band 20-475 Hz and with a frequency time derivative in the range of [-1.0, +0.1]e-8 Hz/s. Such a signal could be produced by a nearby spinning and slightly non-axisymmetric isolated neutron star in our galaxy. This search uses the data from Advanced LIGO's first observational run, O1. No periodic gravitational wave signals were observed, and upper limits were placed on their strengths. The lowest upper limits on worst-case (linearly polarized) strain amplitude h0 are 4e-25 near 170 Hz. For a circularly polarized source (most favorable orientation), the smallest upper limits obtained are 1.5e-25. These upper limits refer to all sky locations and the entire range of frequency derivative values. For a population-averaged ensemble of sky locations and stellar orientations, the lowest upper limits obtained for the strain amplitude are 2.5e-25.
- Jul 11 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1707.02669v2We report results of a deep all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves from isolated neutron stars in data from the first Advanced LIGO observing run. This search investigates the low frequency range of Advanced LIGO data, between 20 and 100 Hz, much of which was not explored in initial LIGO. The search was made possible by the computing power provided by the volunteers of the Einstein@Home project. We find no significant signal candidate and set the most stringent upper limits to date on the amplitude of gravitational wave signals from the target population, corresponding to a sensitivity depth of 48.7 [1/$\sqrt{{\textrm{Hz}}}$]. At the frequency of best strain sensitivity, near 100 Hz, we set 90% confidence upper limits of $1.8 \times 10^{-25}$. At the low end of our frequency range, 20 Hz, we achieve upper limits of $3.9 \times 10^{-24}$. At 55 Hz we can exclude sources with ellipticities greater than $10^{-5}$ within 100 pc of Earth with fiducial value of the principal moment of inertia of $10^{38} \textrm{kg m}^2$.
- Jun 13 2017 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1706.03119v3We present the results of a semicoherent search for continuous gravitational waves from the low-mass X-ray binary Scorpius X-1, using data from the first Advanced LIGO observing run. The search method uses details of the modelled, parametrized continuous signal to combine coherently data separated by less than a specified coherence time, which can be adjusted to trade off sensitivity against computational cost. A search was conducted over the frequency range from 25 Hz to 2000 Hz, spanning the current observationally-constrained range of the binary orbital parameters. No significant detection candidates were found, and frequency-dependent upper limits were set using a combination of sensitivity estimates and simulated signal injections. The most stringent upper limit was set at 175 Hz, with comparable limits set across the most sensitive frequency range from 100 Hz to 200 Hz. At this frequency, the 95 pct upper limit on signal amplitude h0 is 2.3e-25 marginalized over the unknown inclination angle of the neutron star's spin, and 8.03e-26 assuming the best orientation (which results in circularly polarized gravitational waves). These limits are a factor of 3-4 stronger than those set by other analyses of the same data, and a factor of about 7 stronger than the best upper limits set using initial LIGO data. In the vicinity of 100 Hz, the limits are a factor of between 1.2 and 3.5 above the predictions of the torque balance model, depending on inclination angle, if the most likely inclination angle of 44 degrees is assumed, they are within a factor of 1.7.
- Jun 07 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1706.01812v1We describe the observation of GW170104, a gravitational-wave signal produced by the coalescence of a pair of stellar-mass black holes. The signal was measured on January 4, 2017 at 10:11:58.6 UTC by the twin advanced detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory during their second observing run, with a network signal-to-noise ratio of 13 and a false alarm rate less than 1 in 70,000 years. The inferred component black hole masses are $31.2^{+8.4}_{-6.0}\,M_\odot$ and $19.4^{+5.3}_{-5.9}\,M_\odot$ (at the 90% credible level). The black hole spins are best constrained through measurement of the effective inspiral spin parameter, a mass-weighted combination of the spin components perpendicular to the orbital plane, $\chi_\mathrm{eff} = -0.12^{+0.21}_{-0.30}.$ This result implies that spin configurations with both component spins positively aligned with the orbital angular momentum are disfavored. The source luminosity distance is $880^{+450}_{-390}~\mathrm{Mpc}$ corresponding to a redshift of $z = 0.18^{+0.08}_{-0.07}$. We constrain the magnitude of modifications to the gravitational-wave dispersion relation and perform null tests of general relativity. Assuming that gravitons are dispersed in vacuum like massive particles, we bound the graviton mass to $m_g \le 7.7 \times 10^{-23}~\mathrm{eV}/c^2$. In all cases, we find that GW170104 is consistent with general relativity.
- Apr 28 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1704.08373v2The direct observation of gravitational waves with Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo offers novel opportunities to test general relativity in strong-field, highly dynamical regimes. One such opportunity is the measurement of gravitational-wave polarizations. While general relativity predicts only two tensor gravitational-wave polarizations, general metric theories of gravity allow for up to four additional vector and scalar modes. The detection of these alternative polarizations would represent a clear violation of general relativity. The LIGO-Virgo detection of the binary black hole merger GW170814 has recently offered the first direct constraints on the polarization of gravitational waves. The current generation of ground-based detectors, however, is limited in its ability to sensitively determine the polarization content of transient gravitational-wave signals. Observation of the stochastic gravitational-wave background, in contrast, offers a means of directly measuring generic gravitational-wave polarizations. The stochastic background, arising from the superposition of many individually unresolvable gravitational-wave signals, may be detectable by Advanced LIGO at design-sensitivity. In this paper, we present a Bayesian method with which to detect and characterize the polarization of the stochastic background. We explore prospects for estimating parameters of the background, and quantify the limits that Advanced LIGO can place on vector and scalar polarizations in the absence of a detection. Finally, we investigate how the introduction of new terrestrial detectors like Advanced Virgo aid in our ability to detect or constrain alternative polarizations in the stochastic background. We find that, although the addition of Advanced Virgo does not notably improve detection prospects, it may dramatically improve our ability to estimate the parameters of backgrounds of mixed polarization.
- Apr 18 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1704.04628v4During their first observational run, the two Advanced LIGO detectors attained an unprecedented sensitivity, resulting in the first direct detections of gravitational-wave signals and GW151226, produced by stellar-mass binary black hole systems. This paper reports on an all-sky search for gravitational waves (GWs) from merging intermediate mass black hole binaries (IMBHBs). The combined results from two independent search techniques were used in this study: the first employs a matched-filter algorithm that uses a bank of filters covering the GW signal parameter space, while the second is a generic search for GW transients (bursts). No GWs from IMBHBs were detected, therefore, we constrain the rate of several classes of IMBHB mergers. The most stringent limit is obtained for black holes of individual mass $100\,M_\odot$, with spins aligned with the binary orbital angular momentum. For such systems, the merger rate is constrained to be less than $0.93~\mathrm{Gpc^{-3}\,yr}^{-1}$ in comoving units at the $90\%$ confidence level, an improvement of nearly 2 orders of magnitude over previous upper limits.
- Apr 13 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1704.03719v3Results are presented from a semi-coherent search for continuous gravitational waves from the brightest low-mass X-ray binary, Scorpius X-1, using data collected during the first Advanced LIGO observing run (O1). The search combines a frequency domain matched filter (Bessel-weighted $\mathcal{F}$-statistic) with a hidden Markov model to track wandering of the neutron star spin frequency. No evidence of gravitational waves is found in the frequency range 60-650 Hz. Frequentist 95% confidence strain upper limits, $h_0^{95\%} = 4.0\times10^{-25}$, $8.3\times10^{-25}$, and $3.0\times10^{-25}$ for electromagnetically restricted source orientation, unknown polarization, and circular polarization, respectively, are reported at 106 Hz. They are $\leq 10$ times higher than the theoretical torque-balance limit at 106 Hz.
- I will briefly discuss three cosmological models built upon three distinct quantum gravity proposals. I will first highlight the cosmological role of a vector field in the framework of a string/brane cosmological model. I will then present the resolution of the big bang singularity and the occurrence of an early era of accelerated expansion of a geometric origin, in the framework of group field theory condensate cosmology. I will then summarise results from an extended gravitational model based on non-commutative spectral geometry, a model that offers a purely geometric explanation for the standard model of particle physics.
- Jan 27 2017 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1701.07709v5We present the result of searches for gravitational waves from 200 pulsars using data from the first observing run of the Advanced LIGO detectors. We find no significant evidence for a gravitational-wave signal from any of these pulsars, but we are able to set the most constraining upper limits yet on their gravitational-wave amplitudes and ellipticities. For eight of these pulsars, our upper limits give bounds that are improvements over the indirect spin-down limit values. For another 32, we are within a factor of 10 of the spin-down limit, and it is likely that some of these will be reachable in future runs of the advanced detector. Taken as a whole, these new results improve on previous limits by more than a factor of two.
- We introduce an extension of the Standard Model and General Relativity built upon the principle of local conformal invariance, which represents a generalization of a previous work by Bars, Steinhardt and Turok. This is naturally realized by adopting as a geometric framework a particular class of non-Riemannian geometries, first studied by Weyl. The gravitational sector is enriched by a scalar and a vector field. The latter has a geometric origin and represents the novel feature of our approach. We argue that physical scales could emerge from a theory with no dimensionful parameters, as a result of the spontaneous breakdown of conformal and electroweak symmetries. We study the dynamics of matter fields in this modified gravity theory and show that test particles follow geodesics of the Levi-Civita connection, thus resolving an old criticism raised by Einstein against Weyl's original proposal.
- We study the relative contribution of cusps and pseudocusps, on cosmic (super)strings, to the emitted bursts of gravitational waves. The gravitational wave emission in the vicinity of highly relativistic points on the string follows, for a high enough frequency, a logarithmic decrease. The slope has been analytically found to be $^{-4}/_3$ for points reaching exactly the speed of light in the limit $c=1$. We investigate the variations of this high frequency behaviour with respect to the velocity of the points considered, for strings formed through a numerical simulation, and we then compute numerically the gravitational waves emitted. We find that for string points moving with velocities as far as $10^{-3}$ from the theoretical (relativistic) limit $c=1$, gravitational wave emission follows a behaviour consistent with that of cusps, effectively increasing the number of cusps on a string. Indeed, depending on the velocity threshold chosen for such behaviour, we show the emitting part of the string worldsheet is enhanced by a factor ${\cal O}(10^3)$ with respect to the emission of cusps only.
- We study the impact of effective interactions onto relationally evolving GFT condensates based on real-valued fields. In a first step we show that a free condensate configuration in an isotropic restriction settles dynamically into a low-spin configuration of the quantum geometry. This goes hand in hand with the accelerated and exponential expansion of its volume, as well as the vanishing of its relative uncertainty which suggests the classicalization of the quantum geometry. The dynamics of the emergent space can then be given in terms of the classical Friedmann equations. In contrast to models based on complex-valued fields, solutions avoiding the singularity problem can only be found if the initial conditions are appropriately chosen. We then turn to the analysis of the influence of effective interactions on the dynamics by studying in particular the Thomas-Fermi regime. In this context, at the cost of fine-tuning, an epoch of inflationary expansion of quantum geometric origin can be implemented. Finally, and for the first time, we study anisotropic GFT condensate configurations and show that such systems tend to isotropize quickly as the value of the relational clock grows. This paves the way to a more systematic investigation of anisotropies in the context of GFT condensate cosmology.
- We employ gravitational-wave radiometry to map the gravitational waves stochastic background expected from a variety of contributing mechanisms and test the assumption of isotropy using data from Advanced LIGO's first observing run. We also search for persistent gravitational waves from point sources with only minimal assumptions over the 20 - 1726 Hz frequency band. Finding no evidence of gravitational waves from either point sources or a stochastic background, we set limits at 90% confidence. For broadband point sources, we report upper limits on the gravitational wave energy flux per unit frequency in the range $F_{\alpha,\Theta}(f) < (0.1 - 56) \times 10^{-8}$ erg cm$^{-2}$ s$^{-1}$ Hz$^{-1}$ (f/25 Hz)$^{\alpha-1}$ depending on the sky location $\Theta$ and the spectral power index $\alpha$. For extended sources, we report upper limits on the fractional gravitational wave energy density required to close the Universe of $\Omega(f,\Theta) < (0.39-7.6) \times 10^{-8}$ sr$^{-1}$ (f/25 Hz)$^\alpha$ depending on $\Theta$ and $\alpha$. Directed searches for narrowband gravitational waves from astrophysically interesting objects (Scorpius X-1, Supernova 1987 A, and the Galactic Center) yield median frequency-dependent limits on strain amplitude of $h_0 <$ (6.7, 5.5, and 7.0) $\times 10^{-25}$ respectively, at the most sensitive detector frequencies between 130 - 175 Hz. This represents a mean improvement of a factor of 2 across the band compared to previous searches of this kind for these sky locations, considering the different quantities of strain constrained in each case.
- A wide variety of astrophysical and cosmological sources are expected to contribute to a stochastic gravitational-wave background. Following the observations of GW150914 and GW151226, the rate and mass of coalescing binary black holes appear to be greater than many previous expectations. As a result, the stochastic background from unresolved compact binary coalescences is expected to be particularly loud. We perform a search for the isotropic stochastic gravitational-wave background using data from Advanced LIGO's first observing run. The data display no evidence of a stochastic gravitational-wave signal. We constrain the dimensionless energy density of gravitational waves to be $\Omega_0<1.7\times 10^{-7}$ with 95% confidence, assuming a flat energy density spectrum in the most sensitive part of the LIGO band (20-86 Hz). This is a factor of ~33 times more sensitive than previous measurements. We also constrain arbitrary power-law spectra. Finally, we investigate the implications of this search for the background of binary black holes using an astrophysical model for the background.
- Nov 24 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1611.07531v2Parameter estimates of GW150914 were obtained using Bayesian inference, based on three semi-analytic waveform models for binary black hole coalescences. These waveform models differ from each other in their treatment of black hole spins, and all three models make some simplifying assumptions, notably to neglect sub-dominant waveform harmonic modes and orbital eccentricity. Furthermore, while the models are calibrated to agree with waveforms obtained by full numerical solutions of Einstein's equations, any such calibration is accurate only to some non-zero tolerance and is limited by the accuracy of the underlying phenomenology, availability, quality, and parameter-space coverage of numerical simulations. This paper complements the original analyses of GW150914 with an investigation of the effects of possible systematic errors in the waveform models on estimates of its source parameters. To test for systematic errors we repeat the original Bayesian analyses on mock signals from numerical simulations of a series of binary configurations with parameters similar to those found for GW150914. Overall, we find no evidence for a systematic bias relative to the statistical error of the original parameter recovery of GW150914 due to modeling approximations or modeling inaccuracies. However, parameter biases are found to occur for some configurations disfavored by the data of GW150914: for binaries inclined edge-on to the detector over a small range of choices of polarization angles, and also for eccentricities greater than $\sim$0.05. For signals with higher signal-to-noise ratio than GW150914, or in other regions of the binary parameter space (lower masses, larger mass ratios, or higher spins), we expect that systematic errors in current waveform models may impact gravitational-wave measurements, making more accurate models desirable for future observations.
- Nov 24 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1611.07947v3We present the results of the search for gravitational waves (GWs) associated with $\gamma$-ray bursts detected during the first observing run of the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). We find no evidence of a GW signal for any of the 41 $\gamma$-ray bursts for which LIGO data are available with sufficient duration. For all $\gamma$-ray bursts, we place lower bounds on the distance to the source using the optimistic assumption that GWs with an energy of $10^{-2}M_\odot c^2$ were emitted within the $16$-$500\,$Hz band, and we find a median 90% confidence limit of 71$\,$Mpc at 150$\,$Hz. For the subset of 19 short/hard $\gamma$-ray bursts, we place lower bounds on distance with a median 90% confidence limit of 90$\,$Mpc for binary neutron star (BNS) coalescences, and 150 and 139$\,$Mpc for neutron star-black hole coalescences with spins aligned to the orbital angular momentum and in a generic configuration, respectively. These are the highest distance limits ever achieved by GW searches. We also discuss in detail the results of the search for GWs associated with GRB 150906B, an event that was localized by the InterPlanetary Network near the local galaxy NGC 3313, which is at a luminosity distance of 54$\,$Mpc ($z=0.0124$). Assuming the $\gamma$-ray emission is beamed with a jet half-opening angle $\leq 30^{\circ}$, we exclude a BNS and a neutron star-black hole in NGC 3313 as the progenitor of this event with confidence $>99$%. Further, we exclude such progenitors up to a distance of 102$\,$Mpc and 170$\,$Mpc, respectively.
- Nov 10 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1611.02972v1We present the results from an all-sky search for short-duration gravitational waves in the data of the first run of the Advanced LIGO detectors between September 2015 and January 2016. The search algorithms use minimal assumptions on the signal morphology, so they are sensitive to a wide range of sources emitting gravitational waves. The analyses target transient signals with duration ranging from milliseconds to seconds over the frequency band of 32 to 4096 Hz. The first observed gravitational-wave event, GW150914, has been detected with high confidence in this search; other known gravitational-wave events fall below the search's sensitivity. Besides GW150914, all of the search results are consistent with the expected rate of accidental noise coincidences. Finally, we estimate rate-density limits for a broad range of non-BBH transient gravitational-wave sources as a function of their gravitational radiation emission energy and their characteristic frequency. These rate-density upper-limits are stricter than those previously published by an order-of-magnitude.
- We investigate the potential for the LISA space-based interferometer to detect the stochastic gravitational wave background produced from different mechanisms during inflation. Focusing on well-motivated scenarios, we study the resulting contributions from particle production during inflation, inflationary spectator fields with varying speed of sound, effective field theories of inflation with specific patterns of symmetry breaking and models leading to the formation of primordial black holes. The projected sensitivities of LISA are used in a model-independent way for various detector designs and configurations. We demonstrate that LISA is able to probe these well-motivated inflationary scenarios beyond the irreducible vacuum tensor modes expected from any inflationary background.
- Aug 08 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1608.01940v4The first direct gravitational-wave detection was made by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory on September 14, 2015. The GW150914 signal was strong enough to be apparent, without using any waveform model, in the filtered detector strain data. Here, features of the signal visible in the data are analyzed using concepts from Newtonian physics and general relativity, accessible to anyone with a general physics background. The simple analysis presented here is consistent with the fully general-relativistic analyses published elsewhere,in showing that the signal was produced by the inspiral and subsequent merger of two black holes. The black holes were each of approximately 35 Msun, still orbited each other as close as ~350 km apart, and subsequently merged to form a single black hole. Similar reasoning, directly from the data, is used to roughly estimate how far these black holes were from the Earth, and the energy that they radiated in gravitational waves.
- We report here the non-detection of gravitational waves from the merger of binary neutron star systems and neutron-star--black-hole systems during the first observing run of Advanced LIGO. In particular we searched for gravitational wave signals from binary neutron star systems with component masses $\in [1,3] M_{\odot}$ and component dimensionless spins $< 0.05$. We also searched for neutron-star--black-hole systems with the same neutron star parameters, black hole mass $\in [2,99] M_{\odot}$ and no restriction on the black hole spin magnitude. We assess the sensitivity of the two LIGO detectors to these systems, and find that they could have detected the merger of binary neutron star systems with component mass distributions of $1.35\pm0.13 M_{\odot}$ at a volume-weighted average distance of $\sim$ 70Mpc, and for neutron-star--black-hole systems with neutron star masses of $1.4M_\odot$ and black hole masses of at least $5M_\odot$, a volume-weighted average distance of at least $\sim$ 110Mpc. From this we constrain with 90% confidence the merger rate to be less than 12,600 Gpc$^{-3}$yr$^{-1}$ for binary-neutron star systems and less than 3,600 Gpc$^{-3}$yr$^{-1}$ for neutron-star--black-hole systems. We find that if no detection of neutron-star binary mergers is made in the next two Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo observing runs we would place significant constraints on the merger rates. Finally, assuming a rate of $10^{+20}_{-7}$Gpc$^{-3}$yr$^{-1}$ short gamma ray bursts beamed towards the Earth and assuming that all short gamma-ray bursts have binary-neutron-star (neutron-star--black-hole) progenitors we can use our 90% confidence rate upper limits to constrain the beaming angle of the gamma-ray burst to be greater than ${2.3^{+1.7}_{-1.1}}^{\circ}$ (${4.3^{+3.1}_{-1.9}}^{\circ}$).
- Jul 25 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1607.06662v2We present the numerical analysis of effectively interacting Group Field Theory (GFT) models in the context of the GFT quantum gravity condensate analogue of the Gross-Pitaevskii equation for real Bose-Einstein condensates including combinatorially local interaction terms. Thus we go beyond the usually considered construction for free models. More precisely, considering such interactions in a weak regime, we find solutions for which the expectation value of the number operator N is finite, as in the free case. When tuning the interaction to the strongly nonlinear regime, however, we obtain solutions for which N grows and eventually blows up, which is reminiscent of what one observes for real Bose-Einstein condensates, where a strong interaction regime can only be realized at high density. This behaviour suggests the breakdown of the Bogoliubov ansatz for quantum gravity condensates and the need for non-Fock representations to describe the system when the condensate constituents are strongly correlated. Furthermore, we study the expectation values of certain geometric operators imported from Loop Quantum Gravity in the free and interacting cases. In particular, computing solutions around the nontrivial minima of the interaction potentials, one finds, already in the weakly interacting case, a nonvanishing condensate population for which the spectra are dominated by the lowest nontrivial configuration of the quantum geometry. This result indicates that the condensate may indeed consist of many smallest building blocks giving rise to an effectively continuous geometry, thus suggesting the interpretation of the condensate phase to correspond to a geometric phase.
- Jul 11 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1607.02216v1We describe a directed search for continuous gravitational waves in data from the sixth LIGO science run. The target was the nearby globular cluster NGC 6544 at a distance of 2.7 kpc. The search covered a broad band of frequencies along with first and second frequency derivatives for a fixed sky position. The search coherently integrated data from the two LIGO interferometers over a time span of 9.2 days using the matched-filtering F-statistic. We found no gravitational-wave signals and set 95% confidence upper limits as stringent as 6.0 X 10^-25 on intrinsic strain and 8.5 X 10^-6 on fiducial ellipticity. These values beat the indirect limits from energy conservation for stars with characteristic spindown ages older than 300 years and are within the range of theoretical predictions for possible neutron-star ellipticities. An important feature of this search was use of a barycentric resampling algorithm which substantially reduced computational cost; this method will be used extensively in searches of Advanced LIGO and Virgo detector data.
- Jun 16 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1606.04856v3The first observational run of the Advanced LIGO detectors, from September 12, 2015 to January 19, 2016, saw the first detections of gravitational waves from binary black hole mergers. In this paper we present full results from a search for binary black hole merger signals with total masses up to $100 M_\odot$ and detailed implications from our observations of these systems. Our search, based on general-relativistic models of gravitational wave signals from binary black hole systems, unambiguously identified two signals, GW150914 and GW151226, with a significance of greater than $5\sigma$ over the observing period. It also identified a third possible signal, LVT151012, with substantially lower significance, and with an 87% probability of being of astrophysical origin. We provide detailed estimates of the parameters of the observed systems. Both GW150914 and GW151226 provide an unprecedented opportunity to study the two-body motion of a compact-object binary in the large velocity, highly nonlinear regime. We do not observe any deviations from general relativity, and place improved empirical bounds on several high-order post-Newtonian coefficients. From our observations we infer stellar-mass binary black hole merger rates lying in the range $9-240 \mathrm{Gpc}^{-3} \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$. These observations are beginning to inform astrophysical predictions of binary black hole formation rates, and indicate that future observing runs of the Advanced detector network will yield many more gravitational wave detections.
- We compare GW150914 directly to simulations of coalescing binary black holes in full general relativity, accounting for all the spin-weighted quadrupolar modes, and separately accounting for all the quadrupolar and octopolar modes. Consistent with the posterior distributions reported in LVC_PE[1] (at 90% confidence), we find the data are compatible with a wide range of nonprecessing and precessing simulations. Followup simulations performed using previously-estimated binary parameters most resemble the data. Comparisons including only the quadrupolar modes constrain the total redshifted mass Mz ∈[64 - 82M_⊙], mass ratio q = m2/m1 ∈[0.6,1], and effective aligned spin \chi_eff ∈[-0.3, 0.2], where \chi_eff = (S1/m1 + S2/m2) ⋅\hatL /M. Including both quadrupolar and octopolar modes, we find the mass ratio is even more tightly constrained. Simulations with extreme mass ratios and effective spins are highly inconsistent with the data, at any mass. Several nonprecessing and precessing simulations with similar mass ratio and \chi_eff are consistent with the data. Though correlated, the components' spins (both in magnitude and directions) are not significantly constrained by the data. For nonprecessing binaries, interpolating between simulations, we reconstruct a posterior distribution consistent with previous results. The final black hole's redshifted mass is consistent with Mf,z between 64.0 - 73.5M_⊙and the final black hole's dimensionless spin parameter is consistent with af = 0.62 - 0.73. As our approach invokes no intermediate approximations to general relativity and can strongly reject binaries whose radiation is inconsistent with the data, our analysis provides a valuable complement to LVC_PE[1].
- Jun 06 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1606.01210v1This paper presents updated estimates of source parameters for GW150914, a binary black-hole coalescence event detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) on September 14, 2015 [1]. Reference presented parameter estimation [2] of the source using a 13-dimensional, phenomenological precessing-spin model (precessing IMRPhenom) and a 11-dimensional nonprecessing effective-one-body (EOB) model calibrated to numerical-relativity simulations, which forces spin alignment (nonprecessing EOBNR). Here we present new results that include a 15-dimensional precessing-spin waveform model (precessing EOBNR) developed within the EOB formalism. We find good agreement with the parameters estimated previously [2], and we quote updated component masses of $35^{+5}_{-3}\mathrm{M}_\odot$ and $30^{+3}_{-4}\mathrm{M}_\odot$ (where errors correspond to 90% symmetric credible intervals). We also present slightly tighter constraints on the dimensionless spin magnitudes of the two black holes, with a primary spin estimate $0.65$ and a secondary spin estimate $0.75$ at 90% probability. Reference [2] estimated the systematic parameter-extraction errors due to waveform-model uncertainty by combining the posterior probability densities of precessing IMRPhenom and nonprecessing EOBNR. Here we find that the two precessing-spin models are in closer agreement, suggesting that these systematic errors are smaller than previously quoted.
- Jun 02 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1606.00352v2We study the cosmological implications of interactions between spacetime quanta in the Group Field Theory (GFT) approach to Quantum Gravity from a phenomenological perspective. Our work represents a first step towards understanding Early Universe Cosmology by studying the dynamics of the emergent continuum spacetime, as obtained from a fundamentally discrete microscopic theory. In particular, we show how GFT interactions lead to a recollapse of the Universe while preserving the bounce replacing the initial singularity, which has already been shown to occur in the free case. It is remarkable that cyclic cosmologies are thus obtained in this framework without any a priori assumption on the geometry of spatial sections of the emergent spacetime. Furthermore, we show how interactions make it possible to have an early epoch of accelerated expansion, which can be made to last for an arbitrarily large number of e-folds, without the need to introduce an ad hoc potential for the scalar field.
- A short introduction on elements of noncommutative geometry, which offers a purely geometric interpretation of the Standard Model and implies a higher derivative gravitational theory, is presented. Physical consequences of almost commutative manifolds are briefly discussed and cosmological consequences of the gravitational sector, which is shown not to be plagued by linear instability, are highlighted. Successes and challenges are discussed. A novel spectral action proposal based on zeta function regularisation is briefly presented.
- May 12 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1605.03233v2We report on a comprehensive all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency band 100-1500 Hz and with a frequency time derivative in the range of $[-1.18, +1.00]\times 10^{-8}$ Hz/s. Such a signal could be produced by a nearby spinning and slightly non-axisymmetric isolated neutron star in our galaxy. This search uses the data from the Initial LIGO sixth science run and covers a larger parameter space with respect to any past search. A Loosely Coherent detection pipeline was applied to follow up weak outliers in both Gaussian (95% recovery rate) and non-Gaussian (75% recovery rate) bands. No gravitational wave signals were observed, and upper limits were placed on their strength. Our smallest upper limit on worst-case (linearly polarized) strain amplitude $h_0$ is ${9.7}\times 10^{-25}$ near 169 Hz, while at the high end of our frequency range we achieve a worst-case upper limit of ${5.5}\times 10^{-24}$. Both cases refer to all sky locations and entire range of frequency derivative values.
- Motivated by the recent breakthrough of the detection of Gravitational Waves (GW) from coalescent black holes by the aLIGO interferometers, we study the propagation of GW in the \sl D-material universe, which we have recently shown to be compatible with large-scale structure and inflationary phenomenology. The medium of D-particles induces an effective mass for the graviton, as a consequence of the formation of recoil-velocity field condensates due to the underlying Born-Infeld dynamics. There is a competing effect, due to a super-luminal refractive index, as a result of the gravitational energy of D-particles acting as a dark matter component, with which propagating gravitons interact. We examine conditions for the condensate under which the latter effect is sub-leading. We argue that if quantum fluctuations of the recoil velocity are relatively strong, which can happen in the current era of the universe, then the condensate, and hence the induced mass of the graviton, can be several orders of magnitude larger than the magnitude of the cosmological constant today. Hence, we constrain the graviton mass using aLIGO and pulsar timing observations (which give the most stringent bounds at present). In such a sub-luminal graviton case, there is also a gravitational Cherenkov effect for ordinary high energy cosmic matter, which is further constrained by means of ultra-high-energy cosmic ray observations. Assuming cosmic rays of extragalactic origin, the bounds on the quantum condensate strength, based on the gravitational Cherenkov effect, are of the same order as those from aLIGO measurements, in contrast to the case where a galactic origin of the cosmic rays is assumed, in which case the corresponding bounds are much weaker.
- Mar 15 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1603.04170v2We consider implications of the microscopic dynamics of spacetime for the evolution of cosmological models. We argue that quantum geometry effects may lead to stochastic fluctuations of the gravitational constant, which is thus considered as a macroscopic effective dynamical quantity. Consistency with Riemannian geometry entails the presence of a time-dependent dark energy term in the modified field equations, which can be expressed in terms of the dynamical gravitational constant. We suggest that the late-time accelerated expansion of the Universe may be ascribed to quantum fluctuations in the geometry of spacetime rather than the vacuum energy from the matter sector.
- Mar 08 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1603.01764v2We study the expansion of the Universe using an effective Friedmann equation obtained from the dynamics of GFT (Group Field Theory) isotropic condensates. The evolution equations are classical, with quantum correction terms to the Friedmann equation given in the form of effective fluids coupled to the emergent classical background. The occurrence of a bounce, which resolves the initial spacetime singularity, is shown to be a general property of the model. A promising feature of this model is the occurrence of an era of accelerated expansion, without the need to introduce an inflaton field with an appropriately chosen potential. We discuss possible viability issues of this scenario as an alternative to inflation.
- We consider the spectral action within the context of a 4-dimensional manifold with torsion and show that, in the vacuum case, the equations of motion reduce to Einstein's equations, securing the linear stability of the theory. To subsequently investigate the nonvacuum case, we consider the spectral action of an almost commutative torsion geometry and show that the Hamiltonian is bounded from below, a result which guarantees the linear stability of the theory.
- In a previous publication by some of the authors (N.E.M., M.S. and M.F.Y.), we have argued that the "D-material universe", that is a model of a brane world propagating in a higher-dimensional bulk populated by collections of D-particle stringy defects, provides a model for the growth of large-scale structure in the universe via the vector field in its spectrum. The latter corresponds to D-particle recoil velocity excitations as a result of the interactions of the defects with stringy matter and radiation on the brane world. In this article, we first elaborate further on the results of the previous study on the galactic growth era and analyse the circumstances under which the D-particle recoil velocity fluid may "mimic" dark matter in galaxies. A lensing phenomenology is also presented for some samples of galaxies, which previously were known to provide tension for modified gravity (TeVeS) models. The current model is found in agreement with these lensing data. Then we discuss a cosmic evolution for the D-material universe by analysing the conditions under which the late eras of this universe associated with large-scale structure are connected to early epochs, where inflation takes place. It is shown that inflation is induced by dense populations of D-particles in the early universe, with the role of the inflaton field played by the condensate of the D-particle recoil-velocity fields under their interaction with relativistic stringy matter, only for sufficiently large brane tensions and low string mass scales compared to the Hubble scale. On the other hand, for large string scales, where the recoil-velocity condensate fields are weak, inflation cannot be driven by the D-particle defects alone. In such cases inflation may be driven by dilaton (or other moduli) fields in the underlying string theory.
- Sep 21 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1509.05728v1We consider an extension of WDW minisuperpace cosmology with additional interaction terms that preserve the linear structure of the theory. General perturbative methods are developed and applied to known semiclassical solutions for a closed Universe filled with a massless scalar. The exact Feynman propagator of the free theory is derived by means of a conformal transformation in minisuperspace. As an example, a stochastic interaction term is considered and first order perturbative corrections are computed. It is argued that such an interaction can be used to describe the interaction of the cosmological background with the microscopic d.o.f. of the gravitational field. A Helmoltz-like equation is considered for the case of interactions that do not depend on the internal time and the corresponding Green's kernel is obtained exactly.The possibility of linking this approach to fundamental theories of Quantum Gravity is investigated.
- We investigate the propagation of gravitational waves in the context of fourth order gravity nonminimally coupled to a massive scalar field. Using the damping of the orbital period of coalescing stellar binary systems, we impose constraints on the free parameters of extended gravity models. In particular, we find that the variation of the orbital period is a function of three mass scales which depend on the free parameters of the model under consideration; we can constrain these mass scales from current observational data.
- A brief description of the elements of noncommutative spectral geometry as an approach to unification is presented. The physical implications of the doubling of the algebra are discussed. Some high energy phenomenological as well as various cosmological consequences are presented. A constraint in one of the three free parameters, namely the one related to the coupling constants at unification, is obtained, and the possible role of scalar fields is highlighted. A novel spectral action approach based upon zeta function regularisation, in order to address some of the issues of the traditional bosonic spectral action based on a cutoff function and a cutoff scale, is discussed.
- In this paper we propose a novel definition of the bosonic spectral action using zeta function regularization, in order to address the issues of renormalizability and spectral dimensions. We compare the zeta spectral action with the usual (cutoff based) spectral action and discuss its origin, predictive power, stressing the importance of the issue of the three dimensionful fundamental constants, namely the cosmological constant, the Higgs vacuum expectation value, and the gravitational constant. We emphasize the fundamental role of the neutrino Majorana mass term for the structure of the bosonic action.
- We consider models of Extended Gravity and in particular, generic models containing scalar-tensor and higher-order curvature terms, as well as a model derived from noncommutative spectral geometry. Studying, in the weak-field approximation, the geodesic and Lense-Thirring processions, we impose constraints on the free parameters of such models by using the recent experimental results of the Gravity Probe B and LARES satellites.
- Whenever the condition of anomaly freedom is imposed within the framework of effective approaches to loop quantum cosmology, one seems to conclude that a deformation of general covariance is required. Here, starting from a general deformation we regain an effective gravitational Lagrangian including terms up to fourth order in extrinsic curvature. We subsequently constrain the form of the corrections, and then investigate the conditions for the occurrence of a big bounce and the realisation of an inflationary era, in the presence of a perfect fluid or scalar field.
- Our conventional understanding of space-time, as well as our notion of geometry, break down once we attempt to describe the very early stages of the evolution of our universe. The extreme physical conditions near the Big Bang necessitate an intimate interplay between physics and mathematics. The main challenge is the construction of a theory of quantum gravity, the long-sought unification of Einstein's general relativity with quantum mechanics. There are several attempts to formulate such a theory; they can be tested against experimental and observational results coming from high energy physics and astrophysics, leading to a remarkable interplay between gravity, particle physics and cosmology.
- Applying Grand Unified Theories in the context of the early Universe, cosmic strings are an unavoidable partner of the inflaton field. To render such models compatible with the CMB temperature anisotropies, the inflationary scale has to be lower than the 2x10^16 GeV value deduced from the tensor-to-scalar ratio announced from the BICEP2 collaboration. Some questions are consequently raised about our understanding of the thermal history of the Universe.
- We study the occurrence of cuspy events on a light string stretched between two Y-junctions with fixed heavy strings. We first present an analytic study and give a solid criterion to discriminate between cuspy and non-cuspy string configurations. We then describe a numerical code, built to test this analysis. Our numerical investigation allows us to look at the correlations between string network's parameters and the occurrence of cuspy phenomena. We show that the presence of large amplitude waves on the light string leads to cuspy events. We then relate the occurrence of cuspy events to features like the number of vibration modes on the string or the string's root-mean-square velocity.
- Using spectral regularisation, we compute the Weyl anomaly and express the anomaly generating functional of the quantum effective action through a collective scalar degree of freedom of all quantum vacuum fluctuations. Such a formulation allows us to describe induced gravity on an equal footing with the anomaly-induced effective action, in a self-consistent way. We then show that requiring stability of the cosmological constant under loop quantum corrections, Sakharov's induced gravity and Starobinsky's anomaly-induced inflation are either both present or both absent, depending on the particle content of the theory.
- Apr 03 2013 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1304.0670v4We present possible observing scenarios for the Advanced LIGO, Advanced Virgo and KAGRA gravitational-wave detectors over the next decade, with the intention of providing information to the astronomy community to facilitate planning for multi-messenger astronomy with gravitational waves. We estimate the sensitivity of the network to transient gravitational-wave signals, and study the capability of the network to determine the sky location of the source. We report our findings for gravitational-wave transients, with particular focus on gravitational-wave signals from the inspiral of binary neutron star systems, which are considered the most promising for multi-messenger astronomy. The ability to localize the sources of the detected signals depends on the geographical distribution of the detectors and their relative sensitivity, and 90% credible regions can be as large as thousands of square degrees when only two sensitive detectors are operational. Determining the sky position of a significant fraction of detected signals to areas of 5 square degrees to 20 square degees requires at least three detectors of sensitivity within a factor of ~2 of each other and with a broad frequency bandwidth. When all detectors, including KAGRA and the third LIGO detector in India, reach design sensitivity, a significant fraction of gravitational-wave signals will be localized to a few square degrees by gravitational-wave observations alone.
- Noncommutative spectral geometry offers a purely geometric explanation for the standard model of strong and electroweak interactions, including a geometric explanation for the origin of the Higgs field. Within this framework, the gravitational, the electroweak and the strong forces are all described as purely gravitational forces on a unified noncommutative space-time. In this study, we infer a constraint on one of the three free parameters of the model, namely the one characterising the coupling constants at unification, by linearising the field equations in the limit of weak gravitational fields generated by a rotating gravitational source, and by making use of recent experimental data. In particular, using data obtained by Gravity Probe B, we set a lower bound on the Weyl term appearing in the noncommutative spectral action, namely $\beta \gtrsim 10^{-6}$m$^{-1}$. This constraint becomes stronger once we use results from torsion balance experiments, leading to $\beta \gtrsim 10^{4}$m$^{-1}$. The latter is much stronger than any constraint imposed so far to curvature squared terms.
- We review the noncommutative spectral geometry, a gravitational model that combines noncommutative geometry with the spectral action principle, in an attempt to unify General Relativity and the Standard Model of electroweak and strong interactions. Despite the phenomenological successes of the model, the discrepancy between the predicted Higgs mass and the current experimental data indicate that one may have to go beyond the simple model considered at first. We review the current status of the phenomenological consequences and their implications. Since this model lives by construction at high energy scales, namely at the Grand Unified Theories scale, it provides a natural framework to investigate early universe cosmology. We briefly review some of its cosmological consequences.
- We report the results obtained in the study of Alain Connes noncommutative spectral geometry construction focusing on its essential ingredient of the algebra doubling. We show that such a two-sheeted structure is related with the gauge structure of the theory, its dissipative character and carries in itself the seeds of quantization. From the algebraic point of view, the algebra doubling process has the same structure of the deformed Hops algebra structure which characterizes quantum field theory.
- We study aspects of quantum cosmology in the presence of a modified space-time geometry. In particular, within the context of Gravity's Rainbow modified geometry, motivated from quantum gravity corrections at the Planck energy scale, we show that the distortion of the metric leads to a Wheeler-De Witt equation whose solution admits outgoing plane waves. Hence, a period of cosmological inflation may arise without the need for introducing an inflaton field.
- Starting from microscopic models of space-time foam, based on brane universes propagating in bulk space-times populated by D0-brane defects ("D-particles"), we arrive at effective actions used by a low-energy observer on the brane world to describe his/her observations of the Universe. These actions include, apart from the metric tensor field, also scalar (dilaton) and vector fields, the latter describing the interactions of low-energy matter on the brane world with the recoiling point-like space-time defect (D-particle). The vector field is proportional to the recoil velocity of the D-particle and as such it satisfies a certain constraint. The vector breaks locally Lorentz invariance, which however is assumed to be conserved on average in a space-time foam situation, involving the interaction of matter with populations of D-particle defects. In this paper we demonstrate that, already at the end of the radiation era, the (constrained) vector field associated with the recoil of the defects provides the seeds for a growing mode in the evolution of the Universe. Such a growing mode survives during the matter dominated era, provided the variance of the D-particle recoil velocities on the brane is larger than a critical value.
- The application of Effective Field Theory (EFT) methods to inflation has taken a central role in our current understanding of the very early universe. The EFT perspective has been particularly useful in analyzing the self-interactions determining the evolution of co-moving curvature perturbations (Goldstone boson modes) and their influence on low-energy observables. However, the standard EFT formalism, to lowest order in spacetime differential operators, does not provide the most general parametrization of a theory that remains weakly coupled throughout the entire low-energy regime. Here we study the EFT formulation by including spacetime differential operators implying a scale dependence of the Goldstone boson self-interactions and its dispersion relation. These operators are shown to arise naturally from the low-energy interaction of the Goldstone boson with heavy fields that have been integrated out. We find that the EFT then stays weakly coupled all the way up to the cutoff scale at which ultraviolet degrees of freedom become operative. This opens up a regime of new physics where the dispersion relation is dominated by a quadratic dependence on the momentum \omega ~ p^2. In addition, provided that modes crossed the horizon within this energy range, the prediction of inflationary observables - including non-Gaussian signatures - are significantly affected by the new scales characterizing it.
- The validity of MOND and TeVeS models of modified gravity has been recently tested by using lensing techniques, with the conclusion that a non-trivial component in the form of dark matter is needed in order to match the observations. In this work those analyses are extended by comparing lensing to stellar masses for a sample of nine strong gravitational lenses that probe galactic scales. The sample is extracted from a recent work that presents the mass profile out to a few effective radii, therefore reaching into regions that are dominated by dark matter in the standard (general relativity) scenario. A range of interpolating functions are explored to test the validity of MOND/TeVeS in these systems. Out of the nine systems, there are five robust candidates with a significant excess (higher that 50%) of lensing mass with respect to stellar mass, irrespective of the stellar initial mass function. One of these lenses (Q0957) is located at the centre of a galactic cluster. This system might be accommodated in MOND/TeVeS via the addition of a hot component, like a 2 eV neutrino, that contribute over cluster scales. However, the other four robust candidates (LBQS1009, HE1104, B1600, HE2149) are located in field/group regions, so that a cold component (CDM) would be required even within the MOND/TeVeS framework. Our results therefore do not support recent claims that these alternative scenarios to CDM can survive astrophysical data.
- We review a gravitational model based on noncommutative geometry and the spectral action principle. The space-time geometry is described by the tensor product of a four-dimensional Riemanian manifold by a discrete noncommutative space consisting of only two points. With a specific choice of the finite dimensional involutive algebra, the noncommutative spectral action leads to the standard model of electroweak and strong interactions minimally coupled to Einstein and Weyl gravity. We present the main mathematical ingredients of this model and discuss their physical implications. We argue that the doubling of the algebra is intimately related to dissipation and the gauge field structure. We then show how this noncommutative spectral geometry model, a purely classical construction, carries implicit in the doubling of the algebra the seeds of quantization. After a short review on the phenomenological consequences of this geometric model as an approach to unification, we discuss some of its cosmological consequences. In particular, we study deviations of the Friedmann equation, propagation of gravitational waves, and investigate whether any of the scalar fields in this model could play the role of the inflaton.
- A summary of noncommutative spectral geometry as an approach to unification is presented. The role of the doubling of the algebra, the seeds of quantization and some cosmological implications are briefly discussed.
- A physical interpretation of the two-sheeted space, the most fundamental ingredient of noncommutative spectral geometry proposed by Connes as an approach to unification, is presented. It is shown that the doubling of the algebra is related to dissipation and to the gauge structure of the theory, the gauge field acting as a reservoir for the matter field. In a regime of completely deterministic dynamics, dissipation appears to play a key role in the quantization of the theory, according to 't Hooft's conjecture. It is thus argued that the noncommutative spectral geometry classical construction carries implicit in its feature of the doubling of the algebra the seeds of quantization.
- We analyze theoretical constraints on the consistency of brane inflation leading to cosmic superstring formation and on the subsequent radiation of these cosmic superstrings. We first investigate the implications of recently elucidated supergravity constraints on models of brane inflation. We show that both D3/D7 and D3/anti-D3 brane inflation are subject to non-trivial constraints. Both models can be shown to satisfy those constraints, but for the case of D3/D7 there may be important consequences for the inflationary mechanism. We then analyze the strong theoretical constraints on the types of allowed radiation by cosmic superstrings, should they be formed; such constraints do not apply to their field theoretical analogues. We argue that in a warped background where one might expect axionic radiation to be enhanced relative to gravitational radiation, neithe F-strings nor D-strings can emit axionic radiation, while FD-strings cannot give rise to Neveu-Schwarz--Neveu-Schwarz particle emission, and their Ramond-Ramond particle emission is not well-defined.
- Close to the Planck energy scale, the quantum nature of space-time reveals itself and all forces, including gravity, should be unified so that all interactions correspond to just one underlying symmetry. In the absence of a full quantum gravity theory, one may follow an effective approach and consider space-time as the product of a four-dimensional continuum compact Riemanian manifold by a tiny discrete finite noncommutative space. Since all available data are of a spectral nature, one may argue that it is more appropriate to apply the spectral action principle in this almost commutative space. Following this procedure one obtains an elegant geometric explanation for the most successful particle physics model, namely the standard model (and supersymmetric extensions) of electroweak and strong interactions in all its details, as determined by experimental data. Moreover, since this gravitational theory lives by construction at very high energy scales, it offers a perfect framework to address some of the early universe cosmological questions still awaiting for an answer. After introducing some of the main mathematical elements of noncommutative spectral geometry, I will discuss various cosmological and phenomenological consequences of this theory, focusing in particular on constraints imposed on the gravitational sector of the theory.
- We analytically derive the expected number density distribution of Nambu-Goto cosmic string loops at any redshift soon after the time of string formation to today. Our approach is based on the Polchinski-Rocha model of loop formation from long strings which we adjust to fit numerical simulations and complement by a phenomenological modelling of gravitational backreaction. Cosmological evolution drives the loop distribution towards scaling on all length scales in both the radiation and matter era. Memory of any reasonable initial loop distribution in the radiation era is shown to be erased well before Big Bang Nucleosynthesis. In the matter era, the loop distribution reaches full scaling, up to some residual loops from the radiation era which may be present for extremely low string tension. Finally, the number density of loops below the gravitational cutoff is shown to be scale independent, proportional to a negative power of the string tension and insensitive to the details of the backreaction modelling. As an application, we show that the energy density parameter of loops today cannot exceed 10^(-5) for currently allowed string tension values, while the loop number density cannot be less than 10^(-6) per Mpc^3. Our result should provide a more robust basis for studying the cosmological consequences of cosmic string loops.