Testing effective quantum gravity with gravitational waves from extreme mass ratio inspirals

N. Yunes, C. F. Sopuerta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Testing deviation of GR is one of the main goals of the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna. For the first time, we consistently compute the generation of gravitational waves from extreme-mass ratio inspirals (stellar compact objects into supermassive black holes) in a well-motivated alternative theory of gravity, that to date remains weakly constrained by double binary pulsar observations. The theory we concentrate on is Chern-Simons (CS) modified gravity, a 4-D, effective theory that is motivated both from string theory and loop-quantum gravity, and which enhances the Einstein-Hilbert action through the addition of a dynamical scalar field and the parity-violating Pontryagin density. We show that although point particles continue to follow geodesics in the modified theory, the background about which they inspiral is a modification to the Kerr metric, which imprints a CS correction on the gravitational waves emitted. CS modified gravitational waves are sufficiently different from the General Relativistic expectation that they lead to significant dephasing after 3 weeks of evolution, but such dephasing will probably not prevent detection of these signals, but instead lead to a systematic error in the determination of parameters. We end with a study of radiation-reaction in the modified theory and show that, to leading-order, energy-momentum emission is not CS modified, except possibly for the subdominant effect of scalar-field emission. The inclusion of radiation-reaction will allow for tests of CS modified gravity with space-borne detectors that might be two orders of magnitude larger than current binary pulsar bounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number012051
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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