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Detecting circular polarisation in the stochastic gravitational-wave background from a first-order cosmological phase transition

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Original languageEnglish
Article number032
JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Issue number10
PublishedOct 2020

King's Authors


We discuss the observability of circular polarisation of the stochastic gravitational-wave background (SGWB) generated by helical turbulence following a first-order cosmological phase transition, using a model that incorporates the effects of both direct and inverse energy cascades. We explore the strength of the gravitational-wave signal and the dependence of its polarisation on the helicity fraction, ζ∗, the strength of the transition, α, the bubble size, R∗, and the temperature, T∗, at which the transition finishes. We calculate the prospective signal-to-noise ratios of the SGWB strength and polarisation signals in the LISA experiment, exploring the parameter space in a way that is minimally sensitive to the underlying particle physics model. We find that discovery of SGWB polarisation is generally more challenging than measuring the total SGWB signal, but would be possible for appropriately strong transitions with large bubble sizes and a substantial polarisation fraction.

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