Measurement of the Nuclear Symmetry Energy Parameters from Gravitational-wave Events

Carolyn A. Raithel, Feryal Özel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The nuclear symmetry energy plays a role in determining both the nuclear properties of terrestrial matter as well as the astrophysical properties of neutron stars. The first measurement of the neutron star tidal deformability, from gravitational-wave event GW170817, provides a new way of probing the symmetry energy. In this work, we report on new constraints on the symmetry energy from GW170817. We focus in particular on the low-order coefficients: namely, the value of the symmetry energy at the nuclear saturation density, S 0, and the slope of the symmetry energy, L 0. We find that the gravitational-wave data are relatively insensitive to S 0, but that they depend strongly on L 0 and point to lower values of L 0 than have previously been reported, with a peak likelihood near L 0 ∼ 23 MeV. Finally, we use the inferred posteriors on L 0 to derive new analytic constraints on higher-order nuclear terms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number121
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 10 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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