Regular Article - Theoretical Physics
Detection of gravitational waves by light perturbation
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Seoul National University, 08826, Seoul, Republic of Korea
2 National Institute for Mathematical Sciences, 34047, Daejeon, Republic of Korea
Accepted: 22 June 2021
Published online: 30 June 2021
Light undergoes perturbation as gravitational waves pass by. This is shown by solving Maxwell’s equations in a spacetime with gravitational waves; a solution exhibits a perturbation due to gravitational waves. We determine the perturbation for a general case of both light and gravitational waves propagating in arbitrary directions. It is also shown that a perturbation of light due to gravitational waves leads to a delay of the photon transit time, which implies an equivalence between the perturbation analysis of Maxwell’s equations and the null geodesic analysis for photon propagation. We present an example of application of this principle with regard to the detection of gravitational waves via a pulsar timing array, wherein our perturbation analysis for the general case is employed to show how the detector response varies with the incident angle of a light pulse with respect to the detector.
© The Author(s) 2021
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