Probing particle physics with gravitational waves
PT-CERN call 2020/1
Universidade do Porto
Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto
The detection of gravitational waves (GWs) by LIGO ushered in a new era of Astronomy. GWs will allow for the detection of new astronomical sources, enabling us to hear what is currently unseen. This opens the real prospect of detecting cosmic defect networks formed in symmetry-breaking phase transitions in the early universe. We will develop a new generation of numerical algorithms to describe such defect networks, with the objective of gaining new understanding of their evolution and of constructing more realistic semi-analytical descriptions of their dynamics. These tools will enable us to study the GW background and other observational signatures of defect networks with unprecedented precision. Detailed forecasts for upcoming probes (e.g. SKA, LISA,...) and the derivation of observational constraints on defect-forming scenarios will also be central for this project. This work will then give us insight, not only about the early universe, but also about fundamental physics itself.