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Is there a smallest possible gravitational wave?

  1. Feb 25, 2016 #1
    An accelerating mass produces gravitational waves. Is there a smallest possible gravitational wave? Is there some quantum energy level lower than which a wave will not be produced? For example, would a slowly accelerated electron produce any gravitational waves at all?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2016 #2


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    This is an interesting question that we debated in my GR class. I think that since we don't have a theory of quantum gravity, nobody knows for certain. Presumably gravitational waves come in gravitons, which are quanta of energy = ħω. Then if the mass acceleration is too small to produce a single graviton, a graviton would be produced with some probability less than 1. I'll be interested to hear what others have to say.
  4. Feb 25, 2016 #3
    Thanks for your response, phyzguy. I'm interested in hearing what others might say, too. Possibly we don't know enough to answer definitively?
  5. Feb 25, 2016 #4
    If there is a smallest possible, it is very small indeed. The energy of quanta depend on geometry. It's a relationship between two objects. The further apart two objects are, the smaller the minimum energy. Ten billion light years of wave length? Why not.
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