Detection of new particles around black holes with gravitational waves

Detection of new particles around black holes with gravitational waves

speck in the sky. If new light particles are found, the black holes will be surrounded by a cloud of these particles that suddenly behave similar to the electron cloud in an atom. When another heavy object orbits the black hole and eventually fuses with it, the gravitational atom ionizes and emits particles just like the electrons that are emitted when you shine a light on a metal. Credit: UvA Institute of Physics

Clouds of very light particles can form around rotating black holes. A team of physicists from the University of Amsterdam and Harvard University have now shown that these clouds will leave a distinct imprint on the gravitational waves emitted by binary black holes.

It is generally believed that black holes swallow all forms of matter and energy around them. However, it has long been known that they can also get rid of some of their lumps through a process called ultraviolet radiation. while this phenomenon Known to occur, it is only effective if new, as yet unobserved, particles of very low mass exist in nature, as predicted by many theories beyond the Standard Model of particle physics.

Gravitational ionized atoms

When mass is extracted from the black hole via superradiation, it forms a large cloud around the black hole, forming a so-called gravitational seed. Despite the massive size of the gravitational atom, the comparison with quasi-microscopic atoms is accurate due to the similarity of a black hole as well as a cloud with the familiar structure of ordinary atoms, where clouds of electrons surround a nucleus of protons and neutrons.

In the post that appeared on Physical Review Letters This week, a team of UvA physicists Daniel Bowman, Gianfranco Berton and Giovanni Maria Tomaselli and Harvard physicist John Stout suggested that the similarity between ordinary and gravitational atoms runs deeper than just the similarity in structure. They claim that the similarity can in fact be exploited for discovery new particles With upcoming gravitational wave interferometers.

In the new work, the researchers studied the gravitational equivalent of the so-called “photoelectric effect”. In this well-known process, which for example is exploited in Solar cells To produce an electric current, the ordinary electrons absorb the energy of the incident particles of light, and thus are expelled from a substance – atoms “ionize”. In the gravitational analogue, when a gravitational atom is part of a binary system consisting of two heavy objects, it is disturbed by the presence of a massive companion, which could be a second black hole or a neutron star. Just like the electrons in Photoelectric effect Absorbing the energy of the incident light, the light particle cloud can absorb the orbital energy of the companion, so that some of the cloud is expelled from the gravitational atom.

Finding new particles

The team showed that this process could dramatically alter the evolution of such binary systems, drastically reducing the time needed to integrate components with each other. Moreover, the ionization of a gravitational atom is enhanced at very specific distances between Binary black holes, which leads to the sharp features in gravitational waves that we detect from these mergers. Future gravitational wave interferometers – machines similar to the LIGO and Virgo detectors that over the past few years have shown us the first gravitational waves From black holes– He can notice these effects. Finding the expected features of gravitational atoms will provide distinctive evidence for the existence of new lightweight particles.

New particles discovered using black holes

more information:
Daniel Bowman et al., Sharp Signals of Boson Clouds in a Black Hole Binary Inspirations, Physical Review Letters (2022). DOI: 10.1103/ PhysRevLett.128.221102

Introduction of
University of Amsterdam

the quote: Discovering New Particles Around Black Holes Using Gravitational Waves (2022, June 7) Retrieved on June 7, 2022 from

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