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Speed of Gravitational Waves as a New Probe of Ultra-light Dark Matter

CP 179
Speaker(s) / Presenter(s):
Dr. Bhupal Dev (Washington U., St. Louis)

There exists a class of ultralight Dark Matter (DM) models which could form a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) in the early universe and behave as a single coherent wave instead of individual particles in galaxies. We show that a generic BEC DM halo intervening along the line of sight of a gravitational wave (GW) signal could induce an observable change in the speed of GW, with the effective refractive index depending only on the mass and self-interaction of the constituent DM particles and the GW frequency. Hence, we propose to use the deviation in the speed of GW as a new probe of the BEC DM parameter space. With a multi-messenger approach to GW astronomy and/or with extended sensitivity to lower GW frequencies, the entire BEC DM parameter space can be effectively probed by our new method in the near future.

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