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Living Rev Relativ. 2013;16(1):7. doi: 10.12942/lrr-2013-7. Epub 2013 Sep 12.

Testing General Relativity with Low-Frequency, Space-Based Gravitational-Wave Detectors.

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Institute of Astronomy, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0HA UK.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109 USA.
Center for Interdisclipinary Research and Exploration in Astrophysics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208 USA.
Gravitational Astrophysics Lab, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 8800 Greenbelt Rd., Greenbelt, MD 20771 USA.


We review the tests of general relativity that will become possible with space-based gravitational-wave detectors operating in the ∼ 10-5 - 1 Hz low-frequency band. The fundamental aspects of gravitation that can be tested include the presence of additional gravitational fields other than the metric; the number and tensorial nature of gravitational-wave polarization states; the velocity of propagation of gravitational waves; the binding energy and gravitational-wave radiation of binaries, and therefore the time evolution of binary inspirals; the strength and shape of the waves emitted from binary mergers and ringdowns; the true nature of astrophysical black holes; and much more. The strength of this science alone calls for the swift implementation of a space-based detector; the remarkable richness of astrophysics, astronomy, and cosmology in the low-frequency gravitational-wave band make the case even stronger.


LISA; black holes; data analysis; eLISA; general relativity; gravitation; gravitational waves

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