Under the assumption that a dynamical scalar field is responsible for the current acceleration of the Universe, we explore the possibility of probing its physics in black hole merger processes with gravitational wave interferometers. Remaining agnostic about the microscopic physics, we use an effective field theory approach to describe the scalar dynamics. We investigate the case in which some of the higher-derivative operators, that are highly suppressed on cosmological scales, instead become important on typical distances for black holes. If a coupling to the Gauss-Bonnet operator is one of them, a nontrivial background profile for the scalar field can be sourced in the surroundings of the black hole, resulting in a potentially large amount of "hair." In turn, this can induce sizeable modifications to the spacetime geometry or a mixing between the scalar and the gravitational perturbations. Both effects will ultimately translate into a modification of the quasinormal mode spectrum in a way that is also sensitive to other operators besides the one sourcing the scalar background. The presence of deviations from the predictions of general relativity in the observed spectrum can therefore serve as a window onto dark energy physics.
Physical Review D
- Pub Date:
- April 2020
- General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology;
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics;
- High Energy Physics - Theory
- 10+4 pages, 2 figures, 1 table