Probing Dynamical Gravity with the Polarization of Continuous Gravitational Waves

Research paper by Maximiliano Isi, Matthew Pitkin, Alan J. Weinstein

Indexed on: 22 Mar '17Published on: 22 Mar '17Published in: arXiv - General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology


The direct detection of gravitational waves provides the opportunity to measure fundamental aspects of gravity which have never been directly probed before, including the polarization of gravitational waves. In the context of searches for continuous waves from known pulsars, we present novel methods to detect signals of any polarization content, measure the modes present and place upper-limits on the amplitude of non-tensorial components. This will allow us to obtain new model-independent, dynamical constraints on deviations from general relativity. We test this framework on multiple potential sources using simulated data from three advanced-era detectors at design sensitivity. We find that signals of any polarization will become detectable and distinguishable for characteristic strains $h\gtrsim 3\times10^{-27} \sqrt{1~{\rm yr}/T}$, for an observation time $T$. We also find that our ability to detect non-tensorial components depends only on the power present in those modes, irrespective of the strength of the tensorial strain.