Hidden-sector modifications to gravitational waves from binary inspirals

Stephon Alexander, Evan McDonough, Robert Sims, Nicolás Yunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gravitational wave astronomy has placed strong constraints on fundamental physics, and there is every expectation that future observations will continue to do so. In this work we quantify this expectation for future binary merger observations to constrain hidden sectors, such as scalar-tensor gravity or dark matter, which induce a Yukawa-type modification to the gravitational potential. We explicitly compute the gravitational waveform, and perform a Fisher information matrix analysis to estimate the sensitivity of next generation gravitational wave detectors to these modifications. We find an optimal sensitivity to the Yukawa interaction strength of 10-5 and to the associated dipole emission parameter of 10-7, with the best constraints arising from the Einstein telescope. When applied to a minimal model of dark matter, this provides an exquisite probe of dark matter accumulation by neutron stars, and for sub-TeV dark matter gravitational waves are able to detect mass fractions less then 1 part in 1015.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number235012
JournalClassical and Quantum Gravity
Issue number23
StatePublished - Nov 12 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • binary inspiral
  • dark matter
  • gravitational wave
  • test of general relativity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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