Modifications to gravitational wave equation from canonical quantum gravity
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, 70803, USA
2 II. Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of Hamburg, Luruper Chausee 149, 22761, Hamburg, Germany
* e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 8 August 2020
Published online: 14 August 2020
It is expected that the quantum nature of spacetime leaves its imprint in all semiclassical gravitational systems, at least in certain regimes, including gravitational waves. In this paper we investigate such imprints on gravitational waves within a specific framework: space is assumed to be discrete (in the form of a regular cubic lattice), and this discrete geometry is quantised following Dirac’s canonical quantisation scheme. The semiclassical behavior is then extracted by promoting the expectation value of the Hamiltonian operator on a semiclassical state to an effective Hamiltonian. Considering a family of semiclassical states representing small tensor perturbations to Minkowski background, we derive a quantum-corrected effective wave equation. The deviations from the classical gravitational wave equation are found to be encoded in a modified dispersion relation and controlled by the discreteness parameter of the underlying lattice. For finite discretisations, several interesting effects appear: we investigate the thermodynamical properties of these modified gravitons and, under certain assumptions, derive the tensor power spectrum of the cosmic microwave background. The latter is found to deviate from the classical prediction, in that an amplification of UV modes takes place. We discuss under what circumstances such effect can be in agreement with observations.
© The Author(s), 2020