Observations of gravitational waves from neutron star mergers open up novel directions for exploring fundamental physics: they offer the first access to the structure of objects with a non-negligible contribution from vacuum energy to their total mass. The presence of such vacuum energy in the inner cores of neutron stars occurs in new QCD phases at large densities, with the vacuum energy appearing in the equation of state for a new phase. This in turn leads to a change in the internal structure of neutron stars and influences their tidal deformabilities which are measurable in the chirp signals of merging neutron stars. By considering three commonly used neutron star models we show that for large chirp masses the effect of vacuum energy on the tidal deformabilities can be sizable. Measurements of this sort have the potential to provide a first test of the gravitational properties of vacuum energy independent from the acceleration of the Universe, and to determine the size of QCD contributions to the vacuum energy.
C. Csaki, C. Eroncel, J. Hubisz, et. al.
Thu, 15 Feb 18
Comments: 28 pages, 10 figures, 1 table