High-energy gravitational scattering and the general relativistic two-body problem

29 Oct 2017  ·  Damour Thibault ·

A technique for translating the classical scattering function of two gravitationally interacting bodies into a corresponding (effective one-body) Hamiltonian description has been recently introduced [Phys.\ Rev.\ D {\bf 94}, 104015 (2016)]. Using this technique, we derive, for the first time, to second-order in Newton's constant (i.e. one classical loop) the Hamiltonian of two point masses having an arbitrary (possibly relativistic) relative velocity... The resulting (second post-Minkowskian) Hamiltonian is found to have a tame high-energy structure which we relate both to gravitational self-force studies of large mass-ratio binary systems, and to the ultra high-energy quantum scattering results of Amati, Ciafaloni and Veneziano. We derive several consequences of our second post-Minkowskian Hamiltonian: (i) the need to use special phase-space gauges to get a tame high-energy limit; and (ii) predictions about a (rest-mass independent) linear Regge trajectory behavior of high-angular-momenta, high-energy circular orbits. Ways of testing these predictions by dedicated numerical simulations are indicated. We finally indicate a way to connect our classical results to the quantum gravitational scattering amplitude of two particles, and we urge amplitude experts to use their novel techniques to compute the 2-loop scattering amplitude of scalar masses, from which one could deduce the third post-Minkowskian effective one-body Hamiltonian. read more

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General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology