Tidal heating as a discriminator for horizons in extreme mass ratio inspirals

Kavli Affiliate: Scott A. Hughes

| First 5 Authors: Sayak Datta, Richard Brito, Sukanta Bose, Paolo Pani, Scott A. Hughes

| Summary:

The defining feature of a classical black hole is being a perfect absorber.
Any evidence showing otherwise would indicate a departure from the standard
black-hole picture. Energy and angular momentum absorption by the horizon of a
black hole is responsible for tidal heating in a binary. This effect is
particularly important in the latest stages of an extreme mass ratio inspiral
around a spinning supermassive object, one of the main targets of the future
LISA mission. We study how this effect can be used to probe the nature of
supermassive objects in a model independent way. We compute the orbital
dephasing and the gravitational-wave signal emitted by a point particle in
circular, equatorial motion around a spinning supermassive object to the
leading order in the mass ratio. Absence of absorption by the central object
can affect the gravitational-wave signal dramatically, especially at high spin.
This effect will make it possible to put an unparalleled upper bound on the
reflectivity of exotic compact objects, at the level of ${cal O}(0.01)%$.
This stringent bound would exclude the possibility of observing echoes in the
ringdown of a supermassive binary merger.

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