Gravitational waves and Dark matter

Gravitational Waves: A Fresh Avenue in the Quest for Dark Matter

A quest to detect Dark Matter in the universe.


In the unyielding quest to unravel the enigma of dark matter, gravitational wave detectors emerge as a novel and promising tool, presenting a paradigm shift in understanding our universe.

Probing Dark Matter through Gravitational Waves

Renowned institutions – the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, the Indian Institute for Science, and the University of California at Berkeley – have pioneered a groundbreaking method to investigate dark matter. By harnessing gravitational wave searches, they aim to study the elusive dark matter’s impact on neutron stars.

The Neutron Star Phenomenon

Sulagna Bhattacharya of TIFR, leading the published study in Physical Review Letters, reveals a transformative concept. Dark matter particles within our galaxy are believed to amass within neutron stars, establishing a dense core. In instances where a dark matter particle is substantial and lacks an antiparticle, this core collapses into a diminutive black hole – a challenging hypothesis to authenticate via lab tests.

From Neutron Stars to Black Holes

For an extensive spectrum of dark matter particle mass, this initial seed black hole could devour its host neutron star, converting it into a black hole of neutron-star-mass. This transformation contravenes standard stellar evolution theories, which dictate black hole formation only when neutron stars surpass about 2.5 solar masses, signifying an alteration in our understanding of the cosmos.


Anupam Ray, sharing leadership on the study, underscores the potential revelation that mature binary neutron star systems, located in the galaxy’s dense sectors, could morph into binary black hole systems. Should these low-mass mergers remain undetected, it introduces fresh limitations on dark matter.

LIGO’s Involvement and Groundbreaking Discoveries

Several LIGO-detected events, such as GW190814 and GW190425, introduce the potential involvement of low-mass entities. Drawing inspiration from Hawking and Zeldovich’s 1960s seminal work, there’s speculation that these black holes could have primordial roots, stemming from the early universe’s rare, intense density fluctuations.

LIGO’s Continued Pursuit and Implications

LIGO’s sustained efforts to seek out low-mass black holes reveal an overlap with Bhattacharya’s team findings. The elusive nature of these mergers not only reframes our understanding of particle dark matter but also challenges current ground-based detectors in terms of detecting heavy dark matter particles.

The Future of Gravitational Wave Observations

Anticipating advancements in gravitational wave detectors, such as Advanced LIGO and the Einstein Telescope, this research estimates potential constraints achievable within the next ten years. These observations could delve into feeble interactions of heavy dark matter, pushing beyond the limitations of traditional dark matter detectors. A discovery of exotic low-mass black holes might, consequently, offer invaluable insights into dark matter’s true essence.


Beyond their already demonstrated capability of detecting black holes and Einstein-predicted gravitational waves, experts might soon be integral in demystifying dark matter.

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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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