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  1. Abstract While observations of many high-precision radio pulsars of order ≲1 μ s across the sky are needed for the detection and characterization of a stochastic background of low-frequency gravitational waves (GWs), sensitivity to single sources of GWs requires even higher timing precision. The Argentine Institute of Radio Astronomy (IAR; Instituto Argentino de Radioastronomía) has begun observations of the brightest known millisecond pulsar, J0437−4715. Even though the two antennas are smaller than other single-dish telescopes previously used for pulsar timing array (PTA) science, the IAR’s capability to monitor this pulsar daily, coupled with the pulsar’s brightness, allows for high-precision measurements of pulse-arrival time. While upgrades of the facility are currently underway, we show that modest improvements beyond current plans will provide IAR with unparalleled sensitivity to this pulsar. The most stringent upper limits on single GW sources come from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav). Observations of PSR J0437−4715 will provide a significant sensitivity increase in NANOGrav’s “blind spot” in the sky where fewer pulsars are currently being observed. With state-of-the-art instrumentation installed, we estimate the array’s sensitivity will improve by a factor of ≈2–4 over 10 yr for 20% of the sky with the inclusion ofmore »this pulsar, as compared to a static version of the PTA used in NANOGrav’s most recent limits. More modest instrumentation results in factors of ≈1.4–3. We identify four other candidate pulsars as suitable for inclusion in PTA efforts. International PTA efforts will also benefit from inclusion of these data, given the potential achievable sensitivity.« less
  2. Abstract In this work, we present polarization profiles for 23 millisecond pulsars observed at 820 and 1500 MHz with the Green Bank Telescope as part of the NANOGrav pulsar timing array. We calibrate the data using Mueller matrix solutions calculated from observations of PSRs B1929+10 and J1022+1001. We discuss the polarization profiles, which can be used to constrain pulsar emission geometry, and present both the first published radio polarization profiles for nine pulsars and the discovery of very low-intensity average profile components (“microcomponents”) in four pulsars. We obtain the Faraday rotation measures for each pulsar and use them to calculate the Galactic magnetic field parallel to the line of sight for different lines of sight through the interstellar medium. We fit for linear and sinusoidal trends in time in the dispersion measure and Galactic magnetic field and detect magnetic field variations with a period of 1 yr in some pulsars, but overall find that the variations in these parameters are more consistent with a stochastic origin.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  3. ABSTRACT We searched for an isotropic stochastic gravitational wave background in the second data release of the International Pulsar Timing Array, a global collaboration synthesizing decadal-length pulsar-timing campaigns in North America, Europe, and Australia. In our reference search for a power-law strain spectrum of the form $h_c = A(f/1\, \mathrm{yr}^{-1})^{\alpha }$, we found strong evidence for a spectrally similar low-frequency stochastic process of amplitude $A = 3.8^{+6.3}_{-2.5}\times 10^{-15}$ and spectral index α = −0.5 ± 0.5, where the uncertainties represent 95 per cent credible regions, using information from the auto- and cross-correlation terms between the pulsars in the array. For a spectral index of α = −2/3, as expected from a population of inspiralling supermassive black hole binaries, the recovered amplitude is $A = 2.8^{+1.2}_{-0.8}\times 10^{-15}$. None the less, no significant evidence of the Hellings–Downs correlations that would indicate a gravitational-wave origin was found. We also analysed the constituent data from the individual pulsar timing arrays in a consistent way, and clearly demonstrate that the combined international data set is more sensitive. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this combined data set produces comparable constraints to recent single-array data sets which have more data than the constituent parts of the combination. Future international data releases will deliver increasedmore »sensitivity to gravitational wave radiation, and significantly increase the detection probability.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 19, 2023