Neutron star mergers chirp about vacuum energy

Csaba Csáki, Cem Eröncel, Jay Hubisz, Gabriele Rigo, John Terning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Observations of gravitational waves from neutron star mergers open up novel directions for exploring fundamental physics: they offer the first access to the structure of objects with a non-negligible contribution from vacuum energy to their total mass. The presence of such vacuum energy in the inner cores of neutron stars occurs in new QCD phases at large densities, with the vacuum energy appearing in the equation of state for a new phase. This in turn leads to a change in the internal structure of neutron stars and influences their tidal deformabilities which are measurable in the chirp signals of merging neutron stars. By considering three commonly used neutron star models we show that for large chirp masses the effect of vacuum energy on the tidal deformabilities can be sizable. Measurements of this sort have the potential to provide a first test of the gravitational properties of vacuum energy independent from the acceleration of the Universe, and to determine the size of QCD contributions to the vacuum energy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number87
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Beyond Standard Model
  • Cosmology of Theories beyond the SM
  • Phase Diagram of QCD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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