The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna1, LISA, will detect gravitational wave signals from extreme mass-ratio inspirals2, where a stellar mass compact object orbits a supermassive black hole and eventually plunges into it. Here we report on LISA’s capability to detect whether the smaller compact object in an extreme mass-ratio inspiral is endowed with a scalar field3,4, and to measure its scalar charge—a dimensionless quantity that acts as a measure of how much scalar field the object carries. By direct comparison of signals, we show that LISA will be able to detect and measure the scalar charge with an accuracy of the order of per cent, which is an unprecedented level of precision. This result is independent of the origin of the scalar field and of the structure and other properties of the small compact object, so it can be seen as a generic assessment of LISA’s capabilities to detect new fundamental fields.
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New horizons for fundamental physics with LISA
Living Reviews in Relativity Open Access 30 June 2022
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The data that support the plots within this paper and the other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.
The codes used to create the plots within this paper and support the other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request. Flux calculations have been performed using the numerical routines of the Black Hole Perturbation Toolkit (http://bhptoolkit.org).
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We thank S. Bhagwat, J. Harms, C. Pacilio, G. Piovano, L. Speri and N. Warburton for useful discussions and having carefully read the manuscript. A.M. acknowledges support from the Amaldi Research Center funded by the MIUR programme ‘Dipartimento di Eccellenza’ (CUP: B81I18001170001). N.F. acknowledges financial support provided under the European Union’s H2020 ERC Consolidator Grant ‘GRavity from Astrophysical to Microscopic Scales’ grant agreement No. GRAMS-815673. P.P. acknowledges financial support provided under the European Union’s H2020 ERC Starting Grant agreement No. DarkGRA–757480. We acknowledge financial support provided under the European Union’s H2020 MSCA-RISE Grant GRU, grant agreement No. 101007855. T.P.S. acknowledges partial support from the STFC Consolidated Grants No. ST/T000732/1 and No. ST/V005596/1. We also acknowledge support under the MIUR PRIN and FARE programmes (GW-NEXT, CUP: B84I20000100001). We also acknowledge networking support by the COST Action GW-verse Grant No. CA16104. All computations were performed on the Vera cluster of the Amaldi Research Center.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Further details on the waveform generation and discussion of the numerical procedure adopted for the EMRI parameter estimation and the accuracy of the calculations.
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Maselli, A., Franchini, N., Gualtieri, L. et al. Detecting fundamental fields with LISA observations of gravitational waves from extreme mass-ratio inspirals. Nat Astron 6, 464–470 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-021-01589-5
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