Non-stationary free-space geodesic dynamics due to the interaction with weak gravitational waves

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In this paper, the author investigates how non-stationary reference frames affect the observed trajectories of test particles, and how these observed effects might allow for the detection of gravitational waves. Most gravitational wave experiments rely on observing geometric oscillations of the spacetime between stationary test masses (with respect to each other). The results of this study indicate that an impinging gravitational wave, even of very weak amplitude, can cause much more noticeable effects between moving reference frames. The concepts herein are loosely analogous to how the properties of a magnetic field can be obtained from observing a charged particle’s cyclotron motion through it. To this end, the linearized geodesic differential equations are solved to obtain the coordinates of a particle along a path, and explicit trajectories are calculated for a wide range of gravitational wave parameters. It is found that the angular deviation in trajectory is dependent on the polarization state of the wave and amplitude, leading to the possibly of extracting these parameters from the deviation for real-world experiments. The approach here represents a first step and as such, there are many simplifying assumptions, which will be relaxed slowly over time in future work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number075006
JournalPhysica Scripta
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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