Testing gravitational parity violation with coincident gravitational waves and short gamma-ray bursts

Nicolás Yunes, Richard O'Shaughnessy, Benjamin J. Owen, Stephon Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gravitational parity violation is a possibility motivated by particle physics, string theory, and loop quantum gravity. One effect of it is amplitude birefringence of gravitational waves, whereby left and right circularly polarized waves propagate at the same speed but with different amplitude evolution. Here we propose a test of this effect through coincident observations of gravitational waves and short gamma-ray bursts from binary mergers involving neutron stars. Such gravitational waves are highly left or right circularly polarized due to the geometry of the merger. Using localization information from the gamma-ray burst, ground-based gravitational wave detectors can measure the distance to the source with reasonable accuracy. An electromagnetic determination of the redshift from an afterglow or host galaxy yields an independent measure of this distance. Gravitational parity violation would manifest itself as a discrepancy between these two distance measurements. We exemplify such a test by considering one specific effective theory that leads to such gravitational parity violation, Chern-Simons gravity. We show that the advanced LIGO-Virgo network and all-sky gamma-ray telescopes can be sensitive to the propagating sector of Chern-Simons gravitational parity violation to a level roughly 2orders of magnitude better than current stationary constraints from the LAGEOS satellites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number064017
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 14 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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