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Fundamental Physics Through Gravitational Waves: From No-Hair Theorem to Quantum Structures of Black Holes


Du, Song Ming (2019) Fundamental Physics Through Gravitational Waves: From No-Hair Theorem to Quantum Structures of Black Holes. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/YSDX-J506.


In general relativity, black hole is the simplest macroscopic object in the universe: any black hole can be completely described by its mass, charge and angular mo- mentum. However, such a simple picture might be changed if the gravitational field equations are modified or quantum effects are taken into consideration. These additional hairs of black hole, if exist, may provide valuable information to reveal the deepest mystery of the universe: quantum theory of gravity.

In this thesis, we try to relate the hypothetical extra hairs of black hole with the ob- servational evidence as gravitational waves – another prediction of general relativity and are recently detected. In Chapter I, we provide a pedagogical introduction to the black hole hairs introduced by modified gravity and quantum mechanics, and lay out a mathematical framework to describe the gravitational wave emission with the existence of near-horizon quantum hair. In Chapter II we show that in scalar-tensor theory of gravity, the formation process of a black hole from gravitational collapse is accompanied with the emission of scalar hair. This mechanism gives rise to a scalar type memory effect of gravitational wave, which does not exist in general relativity. This phenomenon can further be used to study the parameter space of the scalar-tensor theory. In Chapter III, we find the scalar gravitational memory effect from stellar collapses provide the strongest sources for the stochastic gravita- tional wave background with scalar polarization in Brans-Dicke theory. The energy density spectrum for this background is provided and its model dependencies are studied. In Chapter IV, we provide a Green’s function method to study the echoes, which are the gravitational waves reflected by the quantum hair near the event hori- zon of a black hole. In Chapter V, we build phenomenological models to describe the near-horizon quantum hair and predict its implication to the binary black hole stochastic gravitational wave background. Our study indicates that the existence of the quantum hair will significantly increases such a background and pins down the most relevant model parameter to be the area under the effective potential. Further, we also demonstrate that the result is rather robust against the uncertainties about the nature of the near-horizon quantum hair. In the end, a field theory based treatment to the gravitational waves in general relativity is provided as the appendix.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Black Hole, General Relativity, Gravitational Wave, Quantum Gravity
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Minor Option:Computer Science
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Chen, Yanbei
Group:TAPIR, Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics, Astronomy Department
Thesis Committee:
  • Weinstein, Alan Jay (chair)
  • Teukolsky, Saul A.
  • Porter, Frank C.
  • Chen, Yanbei
Defense Date:20 December 2018
Non-Caltech Author Email:dusm4728 (AT)
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:12132018-230901638
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription adapted for Ch. 2 adapted for Ch. 4 adapted for Ch. 5
Du, Song Ming0000-0003-0083-7014
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:11315
Deposited By: Song Ming Du
Deposited On:08 Jan 2019 20:27
Last Modified:26 Oct 2021 18:03

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