Extreme Mass Ratio Binaries
My PhD research primarily involves investigating so called ‘Extreme Mass Ratio’ PSR-BH binaries. These systems provide some of the most aggressive and extreme environments in the universe and are the perfect testing ground for general relativity and fundamental physics.
In particular, my current research involves attempting to determine the theoretical timing signal from a pulsar in a relativistic orbit around a massive black hole. Such systems are believed to exist at the centre of galaxies and globular clusters, although none have yet been detected. Such work is important to both inform the detection of these systems, and to provide a theoretical template to then compare with observation for tests of fundamental physics.
Extreme Mass Ratio Inspirals
Extreme Mass Ratio Binaries (EMRBs) emit gravitational radiation and their orbit decays over time. Eventually, this radiation will become strong enough to be detected with the next generation of gravitational wave detectors such as LISA. Once EMRBs emit continuously in the LISA frequency band they are classified as `Extreme Mass Ratio Inspirals’, and they offer a unique apparatus for mapping the spacetime around a black hole with remarkable precision.
I am currently a member of the LISA Consortium, concerned with the modelling of the complex orbital dynamics EMRIs and the implications for the gravitational wave emission.