Probing quantum gravity using high-energy astrophysics
2019 July 29
The events observed by LIGO indicate the existence of a large population of intermediate mass black holes. This unexpected result lead to a resurgence in the interest in theories of the formation of primordial black holes with several studies showing that broad mass distributions can evade or satisfy the stringent constraints on monochromatic populations. If such large populations exist they provide the perfect test-bed for theories beyond the standard model of physics that modify black hole evolution. The case we studied is that of "Planck stars", a hypothetical modification of the black hole evolution where it explodes via quantum loop gravity motivated tunnelling. We determine what the high-frequency background signal of such objects exploding over the whole of cosmic history would look like for various black hole populations to place actual empirical constraints on quantum loop gravity via comparison to observed isotropic background signals at the same frequencies. We find that stringent constraints heavily restrict the amount of energy released via the high-energy channel, thereby casting doubt on whether or not the high-energy signal could result in gamma-ray bursts as speculated in the literature.