Improved gravitational-wave constraints on higher-order curvature theories of gravity

Scott E. Perkins, Remya Nair, Hector O. Silva, Nicolás Yunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gravitational wave observations of compact binaries allow us to test general relativity (and modifications thereof) in the strong and highly dynamical field regime of gravity. Here, we confront two extensions to general relativity, dynamical Chern-Simons, and Einstein-dilaton-Gauss-Bonnet theories, against the gravitational wave sources from the GWTC-1 and GWTC-2 catalogs by the LIGO-Virgo Collaboration. By stacking the posterior of individual events, we strengthen the constraint on the square root of the coupling parameter in Einstein-dilaton-Gauss-Bonnet gravity to αEdGB<1.7 km, but we are unable to place meaningful constraints on dynamical Chern-Simons gravity. Importantly, we also show that our bounds are robust to (i) the choice of general-relativity base waveform model, upon which we add modifications, (ii) unknown higher post-Newtonian order terms in the modifications to general relativity, (iii) the small-coupling approximation, and (iv) uncertainties on the nature of the constituent compact objects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number024060
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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