Binary neutron star mergers in Einstein-scalar-Gauss-Bonnet gravity

William E. East, Frans Pretorius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Binary neutron star mergers, which can lead to less massive black holes relative to other known astrophysical channels, have the potential to probe modifications to general relativity that arise at smaller curvature scales compared to more massive compact object binaries. As a representative example of this, here we study binary neutron star mergers in shift-symmetric Einstein-scalar-Gauss-Bonnet gravity using evolutions of the full, nonperturbative evolution equations. We find that the impact on the inspiral is small, even at large values of the modified gravity coupling (as expected, as neutron stars do not have scalar charge in this theory). However, postmerger there can be strong scalar effects, including radiation. When a black hole forms, it develops scalar charge, impacting the ringdown gravitational wave signal. In cases where a longer-lived remnant star persists postmerger, we find that the oscillations of the star source levels of scalar radiation similar to the black hole formation cases. In remnant stars, we further find that at coupling values comparable to the maximum value for which black hole solutions of the same mass exist, there is significant nonlinear enhancement in the scalar field, which if sufficiently large lead to a breakdown in the evolution, seemingly due to loss of hyperbolicity of the underlying equations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104055
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 15 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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