Dr. Jan Steinhoff

Astrophysikalische und Kosmologische Relativitätstheorie
Standort Potsdam
+49 331 567-7125
+49 331 567-7298


I am working on approximate analytical predictions for the dynamics of compact binaries, their emitted gravitational waves, and the incorporation of these results into gravitational waveform models used in the detection and parameter estimation. It is crucial to take into account the detailed properties of the compact objects, like black holes or neutron stars, in a binary. The spin or rotation of such an object is twisting the surrounding spacetime, leads to precession of the orbit, and consequently to a modulation of the emitted gravitational waves. Neutron stars in a binary can become tidally deformed, which transfers energy out of the orbital motion and leads to a faster increase of frequency of the inspiraling binary. It is even possible to excite oscillation modes on a neutron star in a binary. Finally, potential deviations from Einstein's theory of gravity can also leave an imprint in the gravitational waves.

In order to model all these effects in systematic way, I am primarily working within an effective field theory framework applied to compact binaries. This enables synergies with particle physics, where effective field theories also find a manifold of applications. Recent developments for the efficient calculation of scattering amplitudes can also be employed in order to increase the accuracy of perturbative analytic predictions for compact binaries. My main research target in the area of waveform models is the effective-one-body model, where both analytical and numerical predictions are combined.

Here are links to my publications: from Spires, and from the ADS database.


I studied physics at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena from 2001 to 2006. My diploma thesis on supersymmetric lattice field theories was supervised by Prof. Andreas Wipf. Still at the university of Jena, I started my PhD on the canonical formulation of spin in general relativity under supervision of Prof. Gerhard Schäfer. After I received my PhD in 2010, I went to the Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon as a postdoc. I started my second postdoc at the AEI in 2014. Since September 2019, I have been leading a research group on analytic, perturbative solutions to the two-body problem in gravity, taking also advantage of recent methods developed in high-energy particle physics.

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