We present the results of a model-based search for continuous gravitational waves from the low-mass X-ray binary Scorpius X-1 using LIGO detector data from the third observing run of Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo. This is a semicoherent search that uses details of the signal model to coherently combine data separated by less than a specified coherence time, which can be adjusted to balance sensitivity with computing cost. The search covered a range of gravitational-wave frequencies from 25 to 1600 Hz, as well as ranges in orbital speed, frequency, and phase determined from observational constraints. No significant detection candidates were found, and upper limits were set as a function of frequency. The most stringent limits, between 100 and 200 Hz, correspond to an amplitude h0 of about 10−25 when marginalized isotropically over the unknown inclination angle of the neutron star's rotation axis, or less than 4 × 10−26 assuming the optimal orientation. The sensitivity of this search is now probing amplitudes predicted by models of torque balance equilibrium. For the usual conservative model assuming accretion at the surface of the neutron star, our isotropically marginalized upper limits are close to the predicted amplitude from about 70 to 100 Hz; the limits assuming that the neutron star spin is aligned with the most likely orbital angular momentum are below the conservative torque balance predictions from 40 to 200 Hz. Assuming a broader range of accretion models, our direct limits on gravitational-wave amplitude delve into the relevant parameter space over a wide range of frequencies, to 500 Hz or more.
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© 2022. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society.