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Astrophys Space Sci (2015) 358:27

DOI 10.1007/s10509-015-2425-1

O R I G I N A L A RT I C L E

Gravitational waves in fourth order gravity


S. Capozziello1,2,3 A. Stabile4

Received: 3 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published online: 4 July 2015
Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Abstract In the post-Minkowskian limit approximation, Keywords Gravitational waves Modified theories of
we study gravitational wave solutions for general fourth- gravity Weak field limit
order theories of gravity. Specifically, we consider a La-
grangian with a generic function of curvature invariants
f (R, R R , R R ). It is well known that when 1 Introduction
dealing with General Relativity such an approach provides
massless spin-two waves as propagating degree of freedom Identifying the correct theory of gravity is a crucial issue of
of the gravitational field while this theory implies other ad- modern physics due to the fact that General Relativity, in its
ditional propagating modes in the gravity spectra. We show standard formulation, presents shortcomings at ultraviolet
that, in general, fourth order gravity, besides the standard and infrared limits. For the first issue, we need a theory that
massless graviton is characterized by two further massive should deal with gravity under the same standard of the other
modes with a finite-distance interaction. We find out the fundamental interactions (Quantum Gravity) (Kiefer 2004;
most general gravitational wave solutions in terms of Green Stelle 1977). In the other case, modifications of gravity are
functions in vacuum and in presence of matter sources. If an required to deal with the vast phenomenology coming from
electromagnetic source is chosen, only the modes induced astrophysics and cosmology, generally addressed as dark
by R R are present, otherwise, for any f (R) gravity matter and dark energy issues (Peebles and Ratra 2003;
model, we have the complete analogy with tensor modes of Trimble 1987). This matter is rather controversial due to
the fact that the ambiguity comes out from the fact that
General Relativity. Polarizations and helicity states are clas-
phenomenology could be explained successfully both con-
sified in the hypothesis of plane wave.
sidering new material ingredients (dark matter particles ad-
dressing the problem of structure formation and light scalar
B S. Capozziello fields giving rise to the acceleration of the Hubble fluid)
capozziello@na.infn.it
or modifying gravity that, at scales larger than Solar Sys-
A. Stabile
arturo.stabile@gmail.com tem, could behave in different way with respect to the
weak field limit related to General Relativity (Nojiri and
1 Dipartimento di Fisica, Universit di Napoli Federico II, Odintsov 2007, 2011; Capozziello and De Laurentis 2012;
Complesso Universitario di Monte SantAngelo, Edificio G,
Via Cinthia, 80126, Napoli, Italy
Stelle 1978; Schmidt 1986, 2008). Furthermore, there are
2
very few investigations and experimental constraints prob-
Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) Sezione di Napoli,
Complesso Universitario di Monte SantAngelo, Edificio G,
ing the gravitational field in very strong regimes. Several
Via Cinthia, 80126, Napoli, Italy times, extrapolations of General Relativity are simply as-
3 Gran Sasso Science Institute (INFN), Viale F. Crispi, 7, 67100,
sumed without considering corrections and alternatives that
LAquila, Italy could strongly affect theoretical and experimental results.
4 With this situation in mind, it is urgent to find out some
Dipartimento di Ingegneria, Universit del Sannio, Palazzo
DellAquila Bosco Lucarelli, Corso Garibaldi, 107, 82100, experimentum crucis or some test bed capable of discrimi-
Benevento, Italy nating among concurring gravitational theories (Capozziello
27 Page 2 of 10 S. Capozziello, A. Stabile

et al. 2010a, 2015b; Stabile and Scelza 2011; Stabile and only fourth order theories of gravity where derivatives of
Stabile 2012), that, in any case, should reproduce the well- metric tensor g appear up to the fourth ones. It is inter-
founded theoretical and experimental results of General Rel- esting to see that relaxing the hypothesis that gravitational
ativity. At astrophysical level, discriminations could come interaction is derived only from the Hilbert-Einstein action,
from anomalous stellar systems whose structures and pa- linear in the Ricci curvature scalar R, further gravitational
rameters do not find room in the constraints and limits im- modes, polarizations and helicity states come out. This new
posed by General Relativity. For example, extremely mas- features are directly derived from the post-Minkowskian
sive neutron stars, magnetars or compact objects like quark limit of the theory and points out a new rich phenomenol-
stars could be independent signatures for modified theories ogy that deserves investigation in view of possible fu-
of gravity considered as extensions of General Relativity in ture detection of gravitational waves. The classification of
the strong field regime (Astashenok et al. 2013, 2014). these modes, implying new massive and polarization states,
Besides, discrimination could happen in the realm of is the same of Wigners little group E(2) (Wigner 1939;
gravitational wave physics. This sector of physics, practi- Bargmann and Wigner 1948) earlier explored in literature
cally unexplored from the point of view of modified gravity, by Eardley et al. (1973). Besides, f (R) theories of gravity
deserves a lot of attention since the large part of efforts has have been very well explored in this sense. For example, it
been devoted to the study of gravitational radiation in the is well known that they are equivalent to scalar-tensor the-
realm of General Relativity discarding the fact that modified ories of gravity following the Bergmann-Wagoner formu-
gravity presents a huge amount of new phenomenology and lation (Bergmann 1968; Wagoner 1970) which generalizes
features. For example, only General Relativity strictly fore- the Brans-Dicke theory. Furthermore, kinematics of gravi-
casts massless gravitons with two polarizations. In general, tational waves in f (R) gravity have been extensively stud-
modified gravity and, in particular Extended Gravity, allows ied by Berry and Gair which confronted gravitational radi-
also massive and ghost modes and then further polarizations ation with Solar System tests (Berry and Gair 2011). It is
(Bogdanos et al. 2010; Capozziello and De Laurentis 2011).
important to stress that being f (R) gravity equivalent to a
Specifically, several authors refer this issue to the Fierz-
particular class of scalar-tensor gravity theories, the gravita-
Pauli linearized analysis of massive gravity that leads to the
tional wave content has already been characterized in both
so called van Dam-Veltman-Zakharov (vDVZ) discontinu-
representations (Lang 2014). Also a comparison between
ity. In such a case, we are in presence of the Boulware-Deser
the two frameworks (the Einstein and Jordan frame) has
ghosts. Such anomalies can be cured through the Vainshtein
been analyzed in the weak field limit (Stabile et al. 2013;
mechanism. A detailed review of these arguments can be
Capozziello et al. 2010c). Finally, gravitational wave kine-
found in de Rham (2014).
matics and dynamics in strong field regime and around
However, the possibility of these massive modes are
the Minkowski background have been investigated in detail
studied from a theoretical point of view but practically
(Stein and Yunes 2011).
ignored from the experimental point of view due to the
This paper is organized as follows. In Sect. 2 we report
enormous difficulties related to the detection of gravita-
tional waves. However, the forthcoming experimental fa- briefly the field equations of fourth order gravity. In Sect. 3,
cilities like VIRGO (after the Virgo supercluster of galax- we discuss the post-Minkowskian limit and the linearized
ies) (http://www.ego-gw.it), LIGO (Laser Interferometer field equations while, in Sect. 4, the gravitational wave so-
Gravitational-Wave Observatory, http://www.ligo.org) col- lutions are reported. Section 5 is devoted to the discussion
laboration, LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, of all possible polarization and helicity states of the wave
http://sci.esa.int/lisa/) etc. could be suitable, in principle, for solutions. Conclusions are reported in Sect. 6.
detecting these further modes.
In this paper, we propose a systematic study of gravita-
tional wave solutions in theories where generic functions of 2 The field equations of fourth order gravity
curvature invariants are considered generalizing the first par-
tial outcome in the only f (R) framework (Capozziello et al.
The most general class of gravitational theories involving
2010b). These are a straightforward generalization of f (R)
curvature invariants in four dimensions is given by the action
gravity where the degrees of freedom, related to the cur-

vature invariants, is considered. However, we have to say  
that we are not considering R and similar terms where A= d 4 x g f (X, Y, Z) + X Lm (1)
derivative of curvature invariants appear. We are also not
considering the parity-odd Chern-Simons invariant (Alexan- where f is an unspecified function of curvature invariants
der and Yunes 2009) that enters at the same order in cur- X = R, Y = R R , and Z = R R . The term Lm
vatures and derivatives. Here, we are taking into account is the minimally coupled ordinary matter contribution. In the
Gravitational waves in fourth order gravity Page 3 of 10 27

metric approach, the field equations are obtained by vary- given theory is consistent with the well-established Newto-
ing (1) with respect to g . We get the fourth-order differ- nian theory and with the Special Relativity as soon as the
ential equations gravitational field is weak or is almost null. Both require-
ments are fulfilled by General Relativity and then they can
f
fX R g fX; + g fX + 2fY R R be considered two possible paradigms to confront a given
2 theory, at least in the weak field limit, with the General
 
2 fY R ( ;) + [fY R ] + [fY R ]; g Relativity itself. The Newtonian limit of f (R)-gravity and
  f (R, R R , R R )-gravity can be investigated al-
+ 2fZ R R 4 fZ R ; = X T (2) ways remaining in the Jordan frame (Capozziello et al. 2007,
2009; Capozziello and Stabile 2009; Stabile 2010a, 2010b;
( g Lm )
where T = 1g g is the energy-momentum ten- Stabile and Capozziello 2013) while a preliminary study of
f
sor of matter, fX = X , fY = Y f f
, fZ = Z ,  = ; ; , and the post-Minkowskian limit for the f (R) gravity is provided
X = 8G. The conventions for Riccis tensor is R =
1 in Capozziello et al. (2010b). Here we want to derive the
R and for the Riemann tensor is R = ,
+. post-Minkowskian limit of f (R, R R , R R )
The affinities are the usual Christoffels symbols of the met- gravity, that is for generic fourth-order theory of gravity,

ric: = 12 g (g, + g, g, ). The adopted sig- with the aim to investigate the gravitational radiation.
nature is (+ ) (we follow the conventions by Landau The post-Minkowskian limit of any theory of gravity
and Lifits 1970). The trace of field equations (2) is the fol- arises when the regime of small field is considered with-
lowing out any prescription on the propagation of the field. This
case has to be clearly distinguished with respect to the New-
fX X + 2fY Y + 2fZ Z 2f + [3fX + fY X] tonian limit which, differently, requires both the small ve-
  locity and the weak field approximations. Often, in litera-
+ 2 (fY + 2fZ )R ; = X T (3)
ture, such a distinction is not clearly remarked and several
where T = T is the trace of energy-momentum tensor and cases of pathological analysis can be accounted. The post-
H = H. Minkowskian limit of General Relativity gives rise to mass-
Some authors considered a linear Lagrangian contain- less gravitational waves and reproduces the Special Relativ-
ing not only X, Y and Z but also the first power of cur- ity. An analogous study can be pursued considering, instead
vature invariants R and R ; . Such a choice is justi- of the Hilbert-Einstein Lagrangian, linear in the Ricci scalar
fied because all curvature invariants have the same dimen- R, a most general function f of curvature invariants.
sion (L2 ) (Santos 2010). Furthermore, this dependence on However, working with post-Minkowskian limit, one has
the two last invariants is only formal, since from the con- to be extremely careful with the issue whether or not there
tracted Bianchi identity (2R ; R = 0) we have only are ghost modes that could render the theory meaningless.
one independent invariant. In any linear theory of gravity A standard way to deal with ghost modes is to consider any
(the function f is linear) the terms R and R ; give us alternative theory as an effective field theory close to Gen-
no contribution to the field equations, because they are four- eral Relativity, since it is well known that General Relativity
divergences. However if we consider a function of R or has no ghosts. In fact, effective field theory has a restricted
R ; by varying the action, we still have four-divergences regime of validity, and the ghost modes only appear once
but we would have the contributions of sixth order differ- one leaves such a regime. See, for examples Dyda et al.
ential terms. As said in the Introduction, in this paper, we (2012), Capozziello et al. (2015a) where such a problem
consider only fourth order differential field equations. This is discussed for the Chern-Simons and f (R) theories re-
means that Action (1) is a fourth-order theory and no higher- spectively. Essentially, the approach consists in decoupling
order terms in derivatives are taken into account. However, the modes in the weak limit. In Stein and Yunes (2011), it
as we will see below, one needs only two of the three curva- was shown that in the decoupling limit, and approaching
ture invariants, due to the Gauss-Bonnet topological invari- the asymptotically flat region far from any matter sources,
ant which fixes a constraint among the curvature terms. a very generic class of theories with higher curvature invari-
ants leads exactly to the same gravitational wave modes as
in General Relativity (see for example Bamba et al. 2013 for
3 The post Minkowskian limit the case of f (T ) teleparallel gravity).
Another question is related the Cauchy problem of the
Any theory of gravity has to be discussed in the weak field theory, and in particular with its well-formulation and well-
limit approximation. This prescription is needed to test if the posed initial value formulation. For f (R) gravity, this
problem has been highly debated and discussed (Lanahan-
1 Here we use the convention c = 1. Tremblay and Faraoni 2007; Capozziello and Vignolo
27 Page 4 of 10 S. Capozziello, A. Stabile

2009a, 2009b; Salgado 2006). In any case, considering where  is the dAlembert operator in the flat space. T is
theories with higher derivatives, the Cauchy problem has fixed at zero-order in (7) since, in this perturbation scheme,
to be treated with care because the related Hamiltonians the first order on Minkowski space has to be connected with
could suffer, in general, with the Ostrogradski instability the zero order, with respect to h , of the standard matter en-
(see Querella 1998 for a detailed study). In particular, the ergy momentum tensor. This means that T is independent
existence of a well-posed initial value problem for higher- of h , and satisfies the standard conservation conditions
order theories of gravity involves the introduction of aux- T , = 0. By introducing the quantities
iliary degrees of freedom to reduce the derivative order. In
some sense, the mechanism is the same acting in confor- . fX (0)
m1 2 =
mal transformations where the further degrees of freedom 3fXX (0) + 2fY (0) + 2fZ (0)
(8)
in the Jordan frame are disentangled in scalar fields mini- . fX (0)
mally coupled to gravity in the Einstein frame (Capozziello m2 2
=
fY (0) + 4fZ (0)
and De Laurentis 2011). This fact allows to evaluate how
many propagating dynamical degrees of freedom are present we get two differential equations for curvature invariant X (1)
(1)
in the theory. Alternatively, treating the theory as an effec- and Ricci tensor R 3
tive field theory can contribute to address the question of the  2 2
existence of a well-posed initial value formulation (Delsate   (1) m1 m2 2 2 m2
 + m2 2 R +
et al. 2015). 3m1 2 2
In order to perform the post-Minkowskian limit of field

m1 2 + 2m2 2 (9)
equations, one has to perturb Eqs. (2) on the Minkowski +  X (1) = m2 2 X T (0)
6m1 2
background . In such a case, we obtain  
 + m1 2 X (1) = m1 2 X T (0)
g = + h (4)
We note that in the case of f (X)-theory we obtain only
with h small (O(h 2 )  1). Then the curvature invari- a massive mode (with mass m1 ) of Ricci scalar (X). In
ants X, Y , Z become fact if fY = fZ = 0 from the mass definition (8) m1 2
  (3fXX (0))1 and m2 2 we recover the equations of
X X (1) + O h 2 f (X)-gravity (Capozziello et al. 2010b)
 
Y Y (2) + O h 3 (5) 2 
  X (1) (1)
Z Z (2) + O h 3
(1)
R + X = X T
(0)
2 3m1 2 (10)
 
and the function f can be developed as  + m1 2 X (1) = m1 2 X T (0)

1 2 while f (X, Y, Z)-theory we have an additional massive


f (X, Y, Z) f (0) + fX (0)X (1) + fXX (0)X (1)
2 propagation (with mass m2 ) of Ricci tensor. Finally in the
  case of f X also m1 2 and we recover the General
+ fY (0)Y + fZ (0)Z (2) + O h 3
(2)
(6)
Relativity.
Analogous relations for partial derivatives of f are obtained. A first consideration regarding the masses (8) induced
From lowest order of field equations (2) and (3) we have the by f (X, Y, Z)-gravity is necessary at this point. The second
condition f (0) = 0, while at O(1)-order, we have2 mass m2 is originated by the presence, in the Lagrangian, of
Ricci and Riemann tensor square, but also a theory contain-
  fX (0) (1) ing only Ricci tensor square gives rise to the same outcome.
(1)
fX (0)R + fY (0) + 4fZ (0)  R(1)
X
2 Obviously the same is valid also with the Riemann tensor
 
fY (0) square alone. Then such a modification of theory enables a
+ fXX (0) +  X (1) fXX (0)X (1) , massive propagation of Ricci Tensor and, as it is well known
2
  in the literature, a substitution of the Ricci scalar with any
fY (0) + 4fZ (0) R (1) , fY (0)R (1) , function of the Ricci scalar enables a massive propagation of
= X T
(0)
fX (0)X (1) Ricci scalar. We can conclude that a Lagrangian containing
  any function of only Ricci scalar and Ricci tensor square is
+ 3fXX (0) + 2fY (0) + 2fZ (0)  X (1) = X T (0) (7) not restrictive. This result is coming from the Gauss-Bonnet
topological invariant GGB defined as GGB = X 2 4Y + Z
2 We are using the properties: 2R ; R = 0 and R ; =
R ; R . 3 We set fX = 1 i.e. G fX (0)G.
Gravitational waves in fourth order gravity Page 5 of 10 27

(de Witt 1965). In fact, by applying the variation with re- the solution h . From the second line of (9), by introduc-
spect
4 to the metric tensor g in 4 dimensions to the quantity ing the Green function GKG,i (x, x  ) of Klein-Gordon field

d x g GGB = 0, we have defined as follows
      
 + mi 2 GKG,i x, x  = (4) x x  (16)
d x gGGB
4

 with i = 1, 2 and (4) (x x  ) is the Dirac delta function in


 X2

= d x g H
4
4H
Y
+ H
Z
g four dimensions, we find
 
   
= d 4 x gH
GB
g (11) X (1) = m1 2 X d 4 x  GKG,1 x, x  T (0) x  (17)


X = 2
1
( gX 2 ) Y = 1 ( gY ) and where x = x = (t, x) = (t, x 1 , x 2 , x 3 ). The first line of (9)
where H , H
g g g
g
can be recast as follows
Z = 1 ( gZ) GB
H . In four dimensions we have that H
g g   (1)
is identically zero. For this reason the variation of the Gauss-  + m2 2 R
Bonnet invariant generates a dimension-dependent identity,  
m1 2 + 2m2 2
that is = X m2 T
2 (0)
T (0)
6
2   
X
H 4H
Y
+ H
Z
=0 (12) (m1 2 m2 2 )X m1 2
d 4 x 
2

3 2
By substituting condition (12) in Eqs. (2), at post-Minkows-  
 (0)   
kian level, we find the same equations (9) with a redefinition GKG,1 x, x T x (18)
of masses (8). In the weak field limit approximation, we can
so the solution for the Ricci tensor is obtained
consider as Lagrangian in the action (1), the quantity (Sta-

bile 2010b)  
R = X d 4 x  GKG,2 x, x 
(1)

f (X, Y, Z) = aX + bX 2 + cY (13)  
   m1 2 + 2m2 2  
(0) 
2
(0)
m2 T x T x
Then the masses (8) become 6

(m1 2 m2 2 )X  
m1 2 =
a d 4 x  d 4 x  GKG,2 x, x 
2(3b + c) 3
(14)  
a m1 2    
m2 2 = 2   GKG,1 x  , x  T (0) x  (19)
c 2
These masses have real values if the conditions a > 0, b < 0 The Ricci tensor, in terms of the metric (4), is given by
and 0 < c < 3b hold. This fact is extremely important in
order to establishing a no-ghost constraint on such a the- 1 1
(1)
R = h (,)  h h, (20)
ory. For gravity theories explicitly containing the Gauss- 2 2
Bonnet term in the post-Newtonian limit see De Laurentis
where h = h . Since we can use the harmonic gauge con-
and Lopez-Revelles (2014). dition g = 0, we set h , 1/2h , = 0, then the
(1)
Ricci tensor becomes R = 12  h . The solution of
Eq. (19) is
4 Gravitational wave solutions
2(m1 2 m2 2 )X
h =
Once developed the post-Minkowskian limit, one can search 3

for gravitational wave solutions. The general solution of    
d 4 x  d 4 x  d 4 x  GGR x, x  GKG,2 x  , x 
field equations (9) is given by
 
m1 2    
h = h + h (15) GKG,1 x  , x  T (0) x 
2  
2

where h is the (homogeneous) solution in the vacuum and    
2X d 4 x  d 4 x  GGR x, x  GKG,2 x  , x 
h is the (particular) one in the matter. First we try to find
27 Page 6 of 10 S. Capozziello, A. Stabile
 
   m1 2 + 2m2 2  
(0)  It is important to stress that the limit m 0 could become
2
(0)
m2 T x T x (21)
6 problematic for the above propagators since the theory ap-
pears strongly coupled in this limit. However the source term
where GGR (x, x  ) is the Green function defined as
can be assumed decoupled as soon as m 0. In such a case
   
 GGR x, x  = (4) x x  (22) the problem is solved. See de Rham (2014) for a discussion.
A very interesting feature is achieved when we consider
Considering the expressions of the Green functions a traceless source with T (0) = 0. In this case, solutions
GGR (x, x  ) and GKG,1,2 (x, x  ) in terms of plane waves it (23) are unaffected by the functions of the Ricci scalar but
is possible to rewrite the solution (21) as follows only by the presence of the Ricci tensor square terms into
 the interaction Lagrangian. Moreover, from the second line
   (0)   
h (x) = X d 4 x  Z2 x, x  T x of (23), we have also that the gravitational waves must be
       traceless. A prototype of traceless source is the electromag-
+ Z x, x  + Z x, x  T (0) x  (23) netic field where we have

    
h(x) = X d 4 x  Z1 x, x  T (0) x    (0),em   
(x) = X
hem d 4 x  Z2 x, x  T x (27)
where
  with hem (x) = 0. Finally, the solution of the first field equa-
  d 4k ejk(xx )
Zs x, x  = 2ms 2 (1)1+s tions (9) in the vacuum (T = 0) can be derived. By using
(2)4 k 2 (k 2 ms 2 ) again the hypothesis of harmonic gauge and the principle of

  d 4 k (m1 2 + 2m2 2 )k 2 3m1 2 m2 2 plane wave superposition, we get
Z x, x  =
(2)4 3k 2 (k 2 m1 2 )(k 2 m2 2 )
  
 (24) m1 2 m2 2   2  
ejk(xx ) h = 4 
d x Z2 x, x 

 3 m2 2 m1 2 2
  d 4k 2(m1 2 m2 2 )k k 
(1)      (1)   

Z x, x =
(2)4 3k 2 (k 2 m1 2 )(k 2 m2 2 ) X(hs) x 2 d 4 x  GGR x, x  R(hs) x

ej k(xx ) + h(hs) (28)

k = k = (, k) = (, k 1 , k 2 , k 3 ), kx = k x = t k (1) (1)
x, k 2 = k k = 2 |k|2 and s = 1, 2. We note that where X(hs) , R(hs) , h(hs) are respectively the homoge-
in the case f X (from the mass definitions (8) we neous solutions of the Klein-Gordon equation for the Ricci
have m1 , m2 ) we find Zs (k) 2(1)s k 2 , Z(k) scalar and tensor and the solution of wave equation for the
k 2 , Z (k) 0 and the solutions (23) become those of metric. The homogeneous solutions are chosen in such a
General Relativity: way that they satisfy the boundary conditions and the gauge
 harmonic condition h , 1/2h , = 0. Also here, the limit
  (0)   
h (x) = 2X d 4 x  GGR x, x  S x , (25) m 0 becomes problematic since it is strongly coupled. As
above, the remedy is that the sources decouples in this limit
(0) (0) (de Rham 2014).
where S = T T (0) /2.
An important remark is necessary at this point. In the
Finally we can recast the propagators (24) in terms of the
Green functions GGR (x, x  ) and GKG,s (x, x  ) and we can above calculations, we are using the harmonic gauge con-
see immediately the propagation of the massless interaction dition that allows to transform admissible field configura-
and of two massive interactions. We get tions if one considers sufficiently small regions of space-
       time. However, such a condition has to work over more than
Zs x, x  = 2(1)1+s GGR x, x  GKG,s x, x  one gravitational wavelengths and the effects of background
    1   2   curvature on wave propagation have to be considered. A de-
Z x, x  = GGR x, x  GKG,1 x, x  GKG,2 x, x  tailed discussion on harmonic gauge condition, shortwave
3 3
 2 approximation and propagation on curved background can
  2 m m 2  
Z x, x  = GGR x, x 
2 1 2
be found in Misner et al. (1971). Here we adopted the same
3 m1 2 m2 2 approach (see 35.13, 35.14 therein).

GKG,1 (x, x  ) GKG,2 (x, x  ) Below we will consider polarizations and helicity states
+ (26)
m1 2 m2 2 in vacuum starting from this result.
Gravitational waves in fourth order gravity Page 7 of 10 27

Table 1 Classification of solutions in the vacuum of field equa- the general solution in terms of its Fourier modes which are
tions (29). Specifically, the case A is one of General Relativity; the
case B is massive and pure trace; the case C is massive, trace-free and plane waves, that is
transverse and the case D is massless where the trace-reverse of h is

transverse d 3k
hB (t, x) = C(k)ej(1 tkx) (31)
Case Choices Gauge condition (2)3

A k2 = 0 h k = 0 where C(k) is the Fourier representation of the trace hB .


any h with h = 0 If we consider a propagating trace in the z-direction (we
B k 2 = m1 2 Verified set x 3 = z) hB (t, z) = h0 ej(1 tkz z) , where k = (1 , 0, 0, kz )
k k  h
h = m 2 +

2 3
with 1 2 kz 2 = m1 2 , the solution (30) is given by
1
with h = 0
(t, z) =  e
hB B j(1 tkz z)
C k2= m2 2 h k = 0
any h with h = 0 1
+m 1 2
m1 k2z
2 0 0
2 1 1
D k2 = 0 =0
h k 1/2hk
h0 0 2 0
1
0 j( tk z)
= e 1 z
any h with h = 0 3 0 0 12 0

kz 2
m1 k2z 0 0 12 + m1 2
1
5 Polarizations and helicity states in vacuum (32)

We can analyze the propagation in vacuum by performing B is the polarization tensor. By a change of coor-
where 
the Fourier analysis of field equations (9). In the Fourier
dinates x x  = x + (x) with O( 2 )  1, we can
space, we have
transform the metric h into a new metric h = h
 2
  m2 m1 2 , , . Let us suppose that we choose (x) = j ejkx ,
k 2 m2 2 k 2 h k k
3m1 2 the metric h (x) becomes h (x) =   ejkx where   =

2
  + k + k . By performing a change of coordinates
m2 m1 2 + 2m2 2 2 (29)
+ 2
k h =0 and choosing = B = ( 41 1 2m 1 kz kz
2 , 0, 0, 2m 2 4 2 )
2 6m1 1 1 1
B in Eq. (32) becomes
  the polarization tensor 
k 2 m1 2 k 2 h = 0

0 0 0 0
where h , h are the Fourier representation of h , h. The
gauge condition now becomes h k 1/2hk = 0. The 0 1 0 0

h0 2
solutions are shown in Table 1. B
 =

3 0 0 2 1
0
The case A corresponds to the standard massless gravi-

tational waves of General Relativity. The solution B is the kz 2
0 0 0 2 + 1
21 2
same of the pure f (X)-gravity, i.e. the choice k 2 = m1 2

reduces automatically the field equations of f (X, Y, Z)- 0000 0000
gravity to those of f (X)-gravity. Cases B and C are very h0 0 1 0 0 2
+ kz h0 0 0 0 0 .
= (33)
different. In fact the solution C is traceless while the solu- 6 0 0 1 0 61 2 0 0 0 0
tion B satisfies directly the gauge condition. 0001 0001
The solution of case B for h is given by the following
expression In the case C, we have
   
1 d 4 k k k B d 3k
hB = + h (k)ejkx

3 (2)4 m1 2 2 (t, x) =
hC C (k)ej(2 tkx) (34)
(2)3
 2 
1 d 4k B
= h (k)ejkx where C (k) is the Fourier representation
 of the grav-
3 2 m1 2 (2)4
 2 
itational wave h and 2 = |k| + m2 . Also in this
C 2 2
1 case, by considering a propagating wave in the z-direction
= hB (x), (30)
m1 2
(t, z) =  e
3 2 hC C j(2 tkz z) , where the polarization tensor  C

satisfies the traceless condition  C = 0 and after also
where the trace of metric is a generic
 Klein-Gordon function C k = 0 (in the Fourier space), we
with k = (1 , k), where 1 = |k|2 + m1 2 . We can write the harmonic gauge 
27 Page 8 of 10 S. Capozziello, A. Stabile

find the solution 00 0 0 0000
0 1 0 0
= 11 + 12 0 0 1 0
00 01 02 kz2 00 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0
kz2 01
01 11 12 00 0 0 0000
ej(2 tkz z)
(t, z) =
hC
m22 00 11 kz2 02
2
02 12
kz 0000 0000
kz2 00 kz2 01 kz2 02 2 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
+ (01 + 13 )

0 0 0 0 + (02 + 23 ) 0 0 0 1
kz 2 00

(35) 0100 0010

where 00 , 01 , 02 , 11 , 12 are unspecified values. By per- (38)
forming also in this case a change of coordinates (Bogdanos
However the last two polarizations in (38) are not physical
et al. 2010; Capozziello and De Laurentis 2011) and choos-
and practically we obtained the same outcome of General
ing = C = ( 2 00
, 012 , 022 , k00z k2
z 00
2 ) the polariza-
2 2 Relativity (case A).
C in Eq. (35) becomes
tion tensor  If we introduce an independent basis (see Table 2) for
the polarizations (33) and (36), the general solution of field
0 0 0 0 equations (9) in vacuum is
 
2
0 11 12 kmz 2 2 01
C h (t, z) = H1 
(+)
+ H2 
() jkz (tz)
e
 =
0 12 2 00 11 kz 2 02
m2 2 m2 2
kz  
kz 2 (S) j(1 tkz z)
m2 2 m2 2
0 kz 2 01 kz 2 02 m2 4
 00
+ H3 
(1)
 e
2 2 kz 2 31 2

00 0 0 0000
0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 + H4 
(+)
+ H5 
()

= 11
0 0 1 0 + 12 0 1 0 0

(1) (+) 2 2 + 2 m2 2 (S)


00 0 0 0000 + H6 3 2 
2 2
0000 0000 
m2 2 00 4
0 0 0 0 + m2 00 0 0 0 0
+ H7 
(2)
+ H8 
(3) j(2 tkz z)
e (39)

kz 2 0 0 1 0 kz 2 2 2 0 0 0 0
0000 0001 where H1 , H2 are arbitrary constants related to the prop-
agation modes of gravitational waves in General Relativ-
0000 0000
m2 2 01 2 ity and the other constants are defined as H3 = 3h 0
6 ,
0 0 0 1 m2 02 0 0 0 0 . (36)
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 H4 = 11 , H5 = 12 , H6 = m2
2
00
, H7 = 2m2 2 01
kz 2 kz 2
2kz 2 kz 2 ,
0100 0010
2m2 2 02
H8 = kz 2 .
Finally for the case D we have
Table 2 The basis of the polarizations. Each polarization satisfies the

03 01 02 03 condition   = 1
2

01 11 12 01 00 0 0 0000
hD (t, z) = ej(tz) (37)

02 12 11 02 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
(+)
 = 1


()
 = 1
03 01 02 2 03 2 0 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 0


00 0 0 0000
where 01 , 02 , 03 , 11 , 12 are unspecified values and  is
D . Here if we choose = 0000 0000
the trace of polarization tensor 
0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
 203 +  =  = 1
(S) (1)
D = ( 203
4 , 01
, 02
, 4 ) the polarization tensor 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 1 0


D in Eq. (37) becomes

 0001 0001

0000 0000
0 0 0 0
0 11
12 01 + 13 (2)
 = 1 0 0 0 1 (3)
 = 1 0 0 0 0
=
D
 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1
0 12 11 02 + 23
0 01 + 13 02 + 23 0 0100 0010
Gravitational waves in fourth order gravity Page 9 of 10 27

The different components of polarization tensor can be gravity. Finally, as supposed by several authors, these par-
distinguished if we ask how  changes when the coordi- ticles could play a fundamental role for the dark matter is-
nate system undergoes a rotation of a given angle about sue that, in this case, could directly come from the gravita-
the z-axis (Weinberg 1972). This is a Lorentz transforma- tional part of cosmic dynamics (van Dam and Veltman 1970;
tion of the form Zakharov 1970; Meszaros 1985).
Furthermore, the total number of polarizations is six and
1 0 0 0 helicity can come into three distinct states. It is worth notic-
0 cos sin 0
R =
0 sin cos 0 (40) ing that we have not to choose arbitrarily and + polar-
izations as in General Relativity but all possible polariza-
0 0 0 1 tions naturally come out. This fact could be of great interest
for the gravitational wave detection since running and forth-
and since it leaves k invariant (R k = k ), the only ef-
coming experiments could take advantage from this theoret-
fect is to transform  into  = R R  . In the case
B is unchanged, then we can ical result and investigate new scenarios. In a forthcoming
B, the polarization tensor 
paper, a detailed study of sources compatible with these re-
state that the helicity is null.4 In the case C, we have sults will be pursued.

C m2 2 00
 = ej2 
C
+ sin ej(+/2) Acknowledgements SC acknowledge INFN Sez. di Napoli (Inizia-
kz 2 (41) tive Specifiche QGSKY, and TEONGRAV) for financial support.

l
C
= ej l
C

. .
where  = 11 j12 and l = 13 j23 . The helicity is
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