Particle Theory Seminar | Jeff Dror (UCSC) “Using Pulsar Parameter Drifts to Detect Sub-Nanohertz Gravitational Waves”

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Gravitational waves with frequencies below 1 nHz are notoriously difficult to detect. With periods exceeding current experimental lifetimes, they induce slow drifts in observables rather than periodic correlations. In this talk, I will demonstrate that pulsar timing parameters can discover such ”ultralow” frequency gravitational waves. I will present two complementary observables for which the systematic shift induced by gravitational waves can be extracted. Using existing data for these parameters, I will present the results of a search for ultralow frequency continuous-wave gravitational waves, finding a sensitivity near the expected prediction from supermassive black hole mergers.┬áThe search method opens a new frequency range for gravitational wave detection and has profound implications for astrophysics, cosmology, and particle physics.