Chaos in quadratic gravity

Alexander Deich, Alejandro Cárdenas-Avendaño, Nicolás Yunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While recent gravitational wave observations by LIGO and Virgo allow for tests of general relativity in the extreme gravity regime, these observations are still blind to a large swath of phenomena outside these instruments' sensitivity curves. Future gravitational-wave detectors, such as LISA, will enable probes of longer-duration and lower-frequency events. In particular, LISA will enable the characterization of the nonlinear dynamics of extreme mass-ratio inspirals, when a small compact object falls into a supermassive black hole. In this paper, we study the motion of test particles around spinning black holes in two quadratic gravity theories: scalar Gauss-Bonnet and dynamical Chern-Simons gravity. We show that geodesic trajectories around slowly rotating black holes in these theories are likely to not have a fourth constant of the motion. In particular, we show that Poincaré sections of the orbital phase space present chaotic features that will affect the inspiral of small compact objects into supermassive black holes in these theories. Nevertheless, the characteristic size of these chaotic features is tiny and their location in parameter space is very close to the event horizon of the supermassive black hole. Therefore, the detection of such chaotic features with LISA is likely very challenging, at best.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number024040
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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