Dark matter or regular matter in neutron stars How to tell the difference from the coalescence of compact objects

Maurício Hippert, Emily Dillingham, Hung Tan, David Curtin, Jacquelyn Noronha-Hostler, Nicolás Yunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mirror twin Higgs model is a candidate for (strongly-interacting) complex dark matter, which mirrors SM interactions with heavier quark masses. A consequence of this model are mirror neutron stars - exotic stars made entirely of mirror matter, which are significantly smaller than neutron stars and electromagnetically dark. This makes mergers of two mirror neutron stars detectable and distinguishable in gravitational wave observations, but can we observationally distinguish between regular neutron stars and those that may contain some mirror matter This is the question we study in this paper, focusing on two possible realizations of mirror matter coupled to standard model matter within a compact object: (i) mirror matter captured by a neutron star and (ii) mirror neutron star-neutron star coalescences. Regarding (i), we find that (nonrotating) mirror-matter-admixed neutron stars no longer have a single mass-radius sequence, but rather exist in a two-dimensional mass-radius plane. Regarding (ii), we find that binary systems with mirror neutron stars would span a much wider range of chirp masses and completely different binary Love relations, allowing merger remnants to be very light black holes. The implications of this are that gravitational wave observations with advanced LIGO and Virgo, and x-ray observations with NICER, could detect or constrain the existence of mirror matter through searches with wider model and parameter priors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115028
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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