151 research outputs found

    Topics in Gravitational-Wave Astrophysics

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    In this dissertation we study the applicability of different waveform models in gravitational wave searches for comparable mass binary black holes. We determine the domain of applicability of the computationally inexpensive closed form models, and the same for the semi-analytic models that have been calibrated to Numerical Relativity simulations (and are computationally more expensive). We further explore the option of using hybrid waveforms, constructed by numerically stitching analytic and numerical waveforms, as filters in gravitational wave detection searches. Beyond matched-filtering, there is extensive processing of the filter output before a detection candidate can be confirmed. We utilize recent results from Numerical Relativity to study the ability of LIGO searches to make detections, using (recolored) detector data. Lastly, we develop a waveform model, using recent self-force results, that captures the complete binary coalescence process. The self-force formalism was developed in the context of extreme mass-ratio binaries, and we successfully extend it to model intermediate mass-ratios

    Measuring neutron star tidal deformability with Advanced LIGO: a Bayesian analysis of neutron star - black hole binary observations

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    The discovery of gravitational waves (GW) by Advanced LIGO has ushered us into an era of observational GW astrophysics. Compact binaries remain the primary target sources for LIGO, of which neutron star-black hole (NSBH) binaries form an important subset. GWs from NSBH sources carry signatures of (a) the tidal distortion of the neutron star by its companion black hole during inspiral, and (b) its potential tidal disruption near merger. In this paper, we present a Bayesian study of the measurability of neutron star tidal deformability ΛNS(R/M)5\Lambda_\mathrm{NS}\propto (R/M)^{5} using observation(s) of inspiral-merger GW signals from disruptive NSBH coalescences, taking into account the crucial effect of black hole spins. First, we find that if non-tidal templates are used to estimate source parameters for an NSBH signal, the bias introduced in the estimation of non-tidal physical parameters will only be significant for loud signals with signal-to-noise ratios >30> 30. For similarly loud signals, we also find that we can begin to put interesting constraints on ΛNS\Lambda_\mathrm{NS} (factor of 1-2) with individual observations. Next, we study how a population of realistic NSBH detections will improve our measurement of neutron star tidal deformability. For astrophysical populations of disruptivedisruptive NSBH mergers, we find 20-35 events to be sufficient to constrain ΛNS\Lambda_\mathrm{NS} within ±2550%\pm 25-50\%, depending on the chosen equation of state. In this we also assume that LIGO will detect black holes with masses within the astrophysical massmass-gapgap. If the mass-gap remains preserved in NSBHs detected by LIGO, we estimate that 25%25\% additionaladditional detections will furnish comparable tidal measurement accuracy. In both cases, we find that the loudest 5-10 events to provide most of the tidal information, thereby facilitating targeted follow-ups of NSBHs in the upcoming LIGO-Virgo runs.Comment: 21 pages, 17 figure

    Correlations in parameter estimation of low-mass eccentric binaries: GW151226 & GW170608

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    The eccentricity of binary black hole mergers is predicted to be an indicator of the history of their formation. In particular, eccentricity is a strong signature of dynamical formation rather than formation by stellar evolution in isolated stellar systems. It has been shown that searches for eccentric signals with quasi-circular templates can lead to loss of SNR, and some signals could be missed by such a pipeline. We investigate the efficacy of the existing quasi-circular parameter estimation pipelines to determine the source parameters of such eccentric systems. We create a set of simulated signals with eccentricity up to 0.3 and find that as the eccentricity increases, the recovered mass parameters are consistent with those of a binary with up to a 10%\approx 10\% higher chirp mass and mass ratio closer to unity. We also employ a full inspiral-merger-ringdown waveform model to perform parameter estimation on two gravitational wave events, GW151226 and GW170608, to investigate this bias on real data. We find that the correlation between the masses and eccentricity persists in real data, but that there is also a correlation between the measured eccentricity and effective spin. In particular, using a non-spinning prior results in a spurious eccentricity measurement for GW151226. Performing parameter estimation with an aligned spin, eccentric model, we constrain the eccentricities of GW151226 and GW170608 to be <0.15<0.15 and <0.12<0.12 respectively

    Accurate and efficient waveforms for compact binaries on eccentric orbits

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    Compact binaries that emit gravitational waves in the sensitivity band of ground-based detectors can have non-negligible eccentricities just prior to merger, depending on the formation scenario. We develop a purely analytic, frequency-domain model for gravitational waves emitted by compact binaries on orbits with small eccentricity, which reduces to the quasi-circular post-Newtonian approximant TaylorF2 at zero eccentricity and to the post-circular approximation of Yunes et al. (2009) at small eccentricity. Our model uses a spectral approximation to the (post-Newtonian) Kepler problem to model the orbital phase as a function of frequency, accounting for eccentricity effects up to O(e8){\cal{O}}(e^8) at each post-Newtonian order. Our approach accurately reproduces an alternative time-domain eccentric waveform model for eccentricities e[0,0.4]e\in [0, 0.4] and binaries with total mass less than 12 solar masses. As an application, we evaluate the signal amplitude that eccentric binaries produce in different networks of existing and forthcoming gravitational waves detectors. Assuming a population of eccentric systems containing black holes and neutron stars that is uniformly distributed in co-moving volume, we estimate that second generation detectors like Advanced LIGO could detect approximately 0.1-10 events per year out to redshift z0.2z\sim 0.2, while an array of Einstein Telescope detectors could detect hundreds of events per year to redshift z2.3z \sim 2.3.Comment: 12 pages, 6 figures, 1 appendix. Submitted to Phys. Rev. D. v2: affiliations updated, one reference corrected. Accepted to Phys. Rev.

    Accuracy and precision of gravitational-wave models of inspiraling neutron star -- black hole binaries with spin: comparison with numerical relativity in the low-frequency regime

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    Coalescing binaries of neutron stars (NS) and black holes (BH) are one of the most important sources of gravitational waves for the upcoming network of ground based detectors. Detection and extraction of astrophysical information from gravitational-wave signals requires accurate waveform models. The Effective-One-Body and other phenomenological models interpolate between analytic results and 103010-30 orbit numerical relativity (NR) merger simulations. In this paper we study the accuracy of these models using new NR simulations that span 368836-88 orbits, with mass-ratios and black hole spins (q,χBH)=(7,±0.4),(7,±0.6)(q,\chi_{BH}) = (7, \pm 0.4), (7, \pm 0.6), and (5,0.9)(5, -0.9). We find that: (i) the recently published SEOBNRv1 and SEOBNRv2 models of the Effective-One-Body family disagree with each other (mismatches of a few percent) for black hole spins 0.5\geq 0.5 or 0.3\leq -0.3, with waveform mismatch accumulating during early inspiral; (ii) comparison with numerical waveforms indicate that this disagreement is due to phasing errors of SEOBNRv1, with SEOBNRv2 in good agreement with all of our simulations; (iii) Phenomenological waveforms disagree with SEOBNRv2 over most of the NSBH binary parameter space; (iv) comparison with NR waveforms shows that most of the model's dephasing accumulates near the frequency interval where it switches to a phenomenological phasing prescription; and finally (v) both SEOBNR and post-Newtonian (PN) models are effectual for NSBH systems, but PN waveforms will give a significant bias in parameter recovery. Our results suggest that future gravitational-wave detection searches and parameter estimation efforts targeted at NSBH systems with q7q\lesssim 7 and χBH[0.9,+0.6]\chi_\mathrm{BH} \approx [-0.9, +0.6] will benefit from using SEOBNRv2 templates. For larger black hole spins and/or binary mass-ratios, we recommend the models be further investigated as suitable NR simulations become available.Comment: 20 pages, 18 figure

    Accuracy of binary black hole waveform models for aligned-spin binaries

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    Coalescing binary black holes are among the primary science targets for second generation ground-based gravitational wave (GW) detectors. Reliable GW models are central to detection of such systems and subsequent parameter estimation. This paper performs a comprehensive analysis of the accuracy of recent waveform models for binary black holes with aligned spins, utilizing a new set of 8484 high-accuracy numerical relativity simulations. Our analysis covers comparable mass binaries (1m1/m231\le m_1/m_2\le 3), and samples independently both black hole spins up to dimensionless spin-magnitude of 0.90.9 for equal-mass binaries and 0.850.85 for unequal mass binaries. Furthermore, we focus on the high-mass regime (total mass 50M\gtrsim 50M_\odot). The two most recent waveform models considered (PhenomD and SEOBNRv2) both perform very well for signal detection, losing less than 0.5\% of the recoverable signal-to-noise ratio ρ\rho, except that SEOBNRv2's efficiency drops mildly for both black hole spins aligned with large magnitude. For parameter estimation, modeling inaccuracies of SEOBNRv2 are found to be smaller than systematic uncertainties for moderately strong GW events up to roughly ρ15\rho\lesssim 15. PhenomD's modeling errors are found to be smaller than SEOBNRv2's, and are generally irrelevant for ρ20\rho\lesssim 20. Both models' accuracy deteriorates with increased mass-ratio, and when at least one black hole spin is large and aligned. The SEOBNRv2 model shows a pronounced disagreement with the numerical relativity simulation in the merger phase, for unequal masses and simultaneously both black hole spins very large and aligned. Two older waveform models (PhenomC and SEOBNRv1) are found to be distinctly less accurate than the more recent PhenomD and SEOBNRv2 models. Finally, we quantify the bias expected from all GW models during parameter estimation for recovery of binary's masses and spins.Comment: 24 pages, 15 figures, minor change

    On the accuracy and precision of numerical waveforms: Effect of waveform extraction methodology

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    We present a new set of 95 numerical relativity simulations of non-precessing binary black holes (BBHs). The simulations sample comprehensively both black-hole spins up to spin magnitude of 0.9, and cover mass ratios 1 to 3. The simulations cover on average 24 inspiral orbits, plus merger and ringdown, with low initial orbital eccentricities e<104e<10^{-4}. A subset of the simulations extends the coverage of non-spinning BBHs up to mass ratio q=10q=10. Gravitational waveforms at asymptotic infinity are computed with two independent techniques, extrapolation, and Cauchy characteristic extraction. An error analysis based on noise-weighted inner products is performed. We find that numerical truncation error, error due to gravitational wave extraction, and errors due to the finite length of the numerical waveforms are of similar magnitude, with gravitational wave extraction errors somewhat dominating at noise-weighted mismatches of 3×104\sim 3\times 10^{-4}. This set of waveforms will serve to validate and improve aligned-spin waveform models for gravitational wave science.Comment: 22 pages, 9 figure
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