Perturbative Methods in General Relativity
Abstract: Einstein's theory of general relativity is a cornerstone in the process of gaining increased understanding about problems of gravitational nature. It can be applied to problems on the huge length scales of cosmology and as far as we know it does not break down before the Planck scale is approached. Irrespective of scale, a perturbative approach is often a very useful way to reduce the Einstein system to manageable complexity and size.The projects included in this thesis can be divided into three subcategories. In the first category the keyword is photon-photon scattering. General relativity predicts that scattering can take place on a flat background due to the curvature of space-time caused by the photons themselves. The coupling equations and cross-section are found and a comparison with the corresponding quantum field theoretical results is done to leading order. Moreover, photon-photon scattering due to exchange of virtual electron-positron pairs is considered as an effective field theory in terms of the Heisenberg-Euler Lagrangian resulting in a possible setup for experimental detection of this phenomenon using microwave cavities. The second category of projects is related to cosmology. Here linear perturbations around a flat FRW universe with a cosmological constant are considered and the corresponding temperature variations of the cosmic microwave background radiation are found. Furthermore, cosmological models of Bianchi type V are investigated using a method based on the invariant scheme for classification of metrics by Karlhede. The final category is slowly rotating stars. Here the problem of matching a perfect fluid interior of Petrov type D to an exterior axisymmetric vacuum solution is treated perturbatively up to second order in the rotational parameter.
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