The motion of small bodies in curved spacetime: An introduction to gravitational self-force

The London Relativity and Cosmology Seminar
Adam Pound (Southampton)
November 7th, 2012 at 16:30
Maths 103

The gravitational self-force describes the effect of a small body's gravitational field on its own motion. Incorporating this effect with high accuracy is essential in modelling binary inspirals with extreme mass ratios, which will be an important source of gravitational waves for future detectors. I outline the foundations of the self-force in perturbation theory, focusing on methods of matched asymptotic expansions, in which one accounts for the finite size of the small body. I then discuss recent results for the self-force at second order in perturbation theory. These second-order results promise to be sufficiently accurate to extract inspiral parameters from detected waveforms.