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A fresh look at the gravitational-wave signal from cosmological phase transitions

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Alanne,  Tommi
Florian Goertz - Max Planck Research Group, Junior Research Groups, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Hugle,  Thomas
Division Prof. Dr. Manfred Lindner, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Platscher,  Moritz
Division Prof. Dr. Manfred Lindner, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Schmitz,  Kai
Division Prof. Dr. Manfred Lindner, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Alanne, T., Hugle, T., Platscher, M., & Schmitz, K. (2020). A fresh look at the gravitational-wave signal from cosmological phase transitions. Journal of high energy physics: JHEP, 2020(3): 004. doi:10.1007/JHEP03(2020)004.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-2075-0
Abstract
Many models of physics beyond the Standard Model predict a strong first-order phase transition (SFOPT) in the early Universe that leads to observable gravitational waves (GWs). In this paper, we propose a novel method for presenting and comparing the GW signals that are predicted by different models. Our approach is based on the observation that the GW signal has an approximately model-independent spectral shape. This allows us to represent it solely in terms of a finite number of observables, that is, a set of peak amplitudes and peak frequencies. As an example, we consider the GW signal in the real-scalar-singlet extension of the Standard Model (xSM). We construct the signal region of the xSM in the space of observables and show how it will be probed by future space-borne interferometers. Our analysis results in sensitivity plots that are reminiscent of similar plots that are typically shown for dark-matter direct-detection experiments, but which are novel in the context of GWs from a SFOPT. These plots set the stage for a systematic model comparison, the exploration of underlying model-parameter dependencies, and the construction of distribution functions in the space of observables. In our plots, the experimental sensitivities of future searches for a stochastic GW signal are indicated by peak-integrated sensitivity curves. A detailed discussion of these curves, including fit functions, is contained in a companion paper [1].