Detecting, Discovering and Measuring Dark Matter around Black Holes with Gravitational Waves

The observation of Gravitational Waves (GWs) has opened up a whole new avenue for constraining and detecting particle Dark Matter (DM). One of the most promising systems to study is the Intermediate Mass Ratio Inspiral (IMRI): a stellar-mass compact object such as a black hole or neutron star inspiraling towards an intermediate mass black hole, thousands of times more massive than the Sun. Sub-hertz GWs emitted during the inspiral should be detectable by future space-based observatories such as LISA. But the presence of DM in the system can have subtle dynamical effects on the inspiral, altering the waveform and hopefully allowing us to map out the DM distribution. I will discuss ongoing work to study these systems carefully and self-consistently, in order to develop tools to search for these perturbed GW signals and to understand what we can learn about Dark Matter when we find them.
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