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Implications for First-Order Cosmological Phase Transitions from the Third LIGO-Virgo Observing Run

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Alba Romero, Katarina Martinovic, Thomas A. Callister, Huai Ke Guo, Mario Martínez, Mairi Sakellariadou, Feng Wei Yang, Yue Zhao

Original languageEnglish
Article number151301
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume126
Issue number15
DOIs
Published16 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The authors would like to thank the LIGO-Virgo stochastic background group for helpful comments and discussions. In particular, the authors thank Patrick M. Meyers for his contributions to the parameter estimation analysis code. We thank Alberto Mariotti for his useful feedback on the draft. The authors are grateful for computational resources provided by the LIGO Laboratory and supported by National Science Foundation Grants No. PHY-0757058 and No. PHY-0823459. A. R. and M. M. would like to thank O. Pujols for the motivation and the fruitful discussions. This work was partially supported by the Spanish MINECO under the Grants No. SEV-2016-0588 and No. PGC2018-101858-B-I00, some of which include ERDF funds from the European Union. IFAE is partially funded by the CERCA program of the Generalitat de Catalunya. K. M. is supported by King’s College London through a Postgraduate International Scholarship. M. S. is supported in part by the Science and Technology Facility Council (STFC), United Kingdom, under the research Grant No. ST/P000258/1. H. G. is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Grant No. DE-SC0009956. F. W. Y. and Y. Z. are supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under Award No. DE-SC0009959. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 authors. Published by the American Physical Society. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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Abstract

We place constraints on the normalized energy density in gravitational waves from first-order strong phase transitions using data from Advanced LIGO and Virgo's first, second, and third observing runs. First, adopting a broken power law model, we place 95% confidence level upper limits simultaneously on the gravitational-wave energy density at 25 Hz from unresolved compact binary mergers, ωCBC<6.1×10-9, and strong first-order phase transitions, ωBPL<4.4×10-9. The inclusion of the former is necessary since we expect this astrophysical signal to be the foreground of any detected spectrum. We then consider two more complex phenomenological models, limiting at 25 Hz the gravitational-wave background due to bubble collisions to ωpt<5.0×10-9 and the background due to sound waves to ωpt<5.8×10-9 at 95% confidence level for phase transitions occurring at temperatures above 108 GeV.

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