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Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto

Probing cosmic superstrings with gravitational waves

L. Sousa, P. P. Avelino

We compute the stochastic gravitational wave background generated by cosmic superstrings using a semianalytical velocity-dependent model to describe their dynamics. We show that heavier string types may leave distinctive signatures on the stochastic gravitational wave background spectrum within the reach of present and upcoming gravitational wave detectors. We examine the physically motivated scenario in which the physical size of loops is determined by the gravitational backreaction scale and use NANOGrav data to derive a conservative constraint of G μF〈3.2 ×10-9 on the tension of fundamental strings. We demonstrate that approximating the gravitational wave spectrum generated by cosmic superstring networks using the spectrum generated by ordinary cosmic strings with reduced intercommuting probability (which is often done in the literature) leads, in general, to weaker observational constraints on G μF. We show that the inclusion of heavier string types is required for a more accurate characterization of the region of the (gs,G μF) parameter space that may be probed using direct gravitational wave detectors. In particular, we consider the observational constraints that result from NANOGrav data and show that heavier strings generate a secondary exclusion region of parameter space.

Physical Review D
Volume 94
December 2016

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Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences

Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) is a new but long anticipated research infrastructure with a national dimension. It embodies a bold but feasible vision for the development of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal, taking full advantage and fully realizing the potential created by the national membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). IA resulted from the merging the two most prominent research units in the field in Portugal: the Centre for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) and the Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Lisbon (CAAUL). It currently hosts more than two-thirds of all active researchers working in Space Sciences in Portugal, and is responsible for an even greater fraction of the national productivity in international ISI journals in the area of Space Sciences. This is the scientific area with the highest relative impact factor (1.65 times above the international average) and the field with the highest average number of citations per article for Portugal.

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