LIGO Document P1600305-v14

Probing Dynamical Gravity with the Polarization of Continuous Gravitational Waves

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The direct detection of gravitational waves provides the opportunity to measure
fundamental aspects of gravity which have never been directly probed before,
including the polarization of gravitational waves. In the context of searches
for continuous waves from known pulsars, we present novel methods to detect
signals of any polarization content, measure the modes present and place
upper-limits on the amplitude of non-tensorial components. This will allow us
to obtain new model-independent, dynamical constraints on deviations from
general relativity. We test this framework on multiple potential sources
using simulated data from three advanced-era detectors at design sensitivity.
We find that signals of any polarization will become detectable and
distinguishable for characteristic strains \( h\gtrsim 3\times10^{-27}
\sqrt{1~{\rm yr}/T} \), for an observation time \( T \). We also find that our
ability to detect non-tensorial components depends only on the power present in
those modes, irrespective of the strength of the tensorial strain.
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