Constraints on equivalence principle violation from gamma ray bursts

Deaglan Bartlett*, Dexter Bergsdal, Harry Desmond, Pedro G. Ferreira, Jens Jasche

*Corresponding author for this work

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Theories of gravity that obey the Weak Equivalence Principle have the same Parametrised Post-Newtonian parameter γ for all particles at all energies. The large Shapiro time delays of extragalactic sources allow us to put tight constraints on differences in γ between photons of different frequencies from spectral lag data, since a non-zero Δγ would result in a frequency-dependent arrival time. The majority of previous constraints have assumed that the Shapiro time delay is dominated by a few local massive objects, although this is a poor approximation for distant sources. In this work we consider the cosmological context of these sources by developing a source-by-source, Monte Carlo-based forward model for the Shapiro time delays by combining constrained realisations of the local density field using the Bayesian origin reconstruction from galaxies algorithm with unconstrained large-scale modes. Propagating uncertainties in the density field reconstruction and marginalising over an empirical model describing other contributions to the time delay, we use spectral lag data of Gamma Ray Bursts from the BATSE satellite to constrain Δγ < 2.1 × 10−15 at 1σ confidence between photon energies of 25 keV and 325 keV.
Original languageEnglish
Article number084025
Number of pages15
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2021


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  • STFC

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