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Graviton mass and memory

Kilicarslan, Ercan
Tekin, Bayram
Gravitational memory, a residual change, arises after a finite gravitational wave pulse interacts with free masses. We calculate the memory effect in massive gravity as a function of the graviton mass (mg) and show that it is discretely different from the result of general relativity: the memory is reduced not just via the usual expected Yukawa decay but by a numerical factor which survives even in the massless limit. For the strongest existing bounds on the graviton mass, the memory is essentially wiped out for the sources located at distances above 10 Mpc. On the other hand, for the weaker bounds found in the LIGO observations, the memory is reduced to zero for distances above 0.1 Pc. Hence, we suggest that careful observations of the gravitational wave memory effect can rule out the graviton mass or significantly bound it. We also show that adding higher curvature terms reduces the memory effect.