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Detecting Lorentz violations with gravitational waves from black hole binaries

Sotiriou, Thomas P.


Professor of Gravitational Physics


Gravitational wave observations have been used to test Lorentz symmetry by looking for dispersive effects that are caused by higher order corrections to the dispersion relation. In this Letter I argue on general grounds that, when such corrections are present, there will also be a scalar excitation. Hence, a smoking-gun observation of Lorentz symmetry breaking would be the direct detection of scalar waves that travel at a speed other than the speed of the standard gravitational wave polarizations or the speed of light. Interestingly, in known Lorentz-breaking gravity theories the difference between the speeds of scalar and tensor waves is virtually unconstrained, whereas the difference between the latter and the speed of light is already severely constrained by the coincident detection of gravitational waves and gamma rays from a binary neutron star merger.


Sotiriou, T. P. (2018). Detecting Lorentz violations with gravitational waves from black hole binaries. Physical Review Letters, 120(4),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 4, 2018
Publication Date Jan 26, 2018
Deposit Date Feb 9, 2018
Publicly Available Date Feb 9, 2018
Journal Physical Review Letters
Print ISSN 0031-9007
Electronic ISSN 1079-7114
Publisher American Physical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 120
Issue 4
Public URL
Publisher URL


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