Testing gravitational wave propagation with multiband detections

Tessa Baker, Enrico Barausse, Anson Chen, Claudia de Rham, Mauro Pieroni, Gianmassimo Tasinato

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Effective field theories (EFT) of dark energy (DE) -- built to parameterise the properties of DE in an agnostic manner -- are severely constrained by measurements of the propagation speed of gravitational waves (GW). However, GW frequencies probed by ground-based interferometers lie around the typical strong coupling scale of the EFT, and it is likely that the effective description breaks down before even reaching that scale. We discuss how this leaves the possibility that an appropriate ultraviolet completion of DE scenarios, valid at scales beyond an EFT description, can avoid present constraints on the GW speed. Instead, additional constraints in the lower frequency LISA band would be harder to escape, since the energies involved are orders of magnitude lower. By implementing a method based on GW multiband detections, we show indeed that a single joint observation of a GW150914-like event by LISA and a terrestrial interferometer would allow one to constrain the speed of light and gravitons to match to within $10^{-15}$. Multiband GW observations can therefore firmly constrain scenarios based on the EFT of DE, in a robust and unambiguous way.
Original languageEnglish
Article number044
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2023


  • gr-qc
  • astro-ph.CO
  • hep-th
  • Gravitational waves in GR and beyond : theory
  • modified gravity
  • gravitational wave detectors
  • gravitational waves / theory
  • UKRI
  • STFC
  • ST/P000762/1
  • ST/T000791/1
  • ST/T000813/1

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