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Measuring gravitational waves from binary black hole coalescences. I. Signal to noise for inspiral, merger, and ringdown

Flanagan, Éanna É. and Hughes, Scott A. (1998) Measuring gravitational waves from binary black hole coalescences. I. Signal to noise for inspiral, merger, and ringdown. Physical Review D, 57 (8). pp. 4535-4565. ISSN 2470-0010.

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We estimate the expected signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) from the three phases (inspiral, merger, and ringdown) of coalescing binary black holes (BBHs) for initial and advanced ground-based interferometers (LIGO-VIRGO) and for the space-based interferometer LISA. Ground-based interferometers can do moderate SNR (a few tens), moderate accuracy studies of BBH coalescences in the mass range of a few to about 2000 solar masses; LISA can do high SNR (of order 104), high accuracy studies in the mass range of about 105–108 solar masses. BBHs might well be the first sources detected by LIGO-VIRGO: they are visible to much larger distances—up to 500 Mpc by initial interferometers—than coalescing neutron star binaries (heretofore regarded as the “bread and butter” workhorse source for LIGO-VIRGO, visible to about 30 Mpc by initial interferometers). Low-mass BBHs (up to 50M⊙ for initial LIGO interferometers, 100M⊙ for advanced, 106M⊙ for LISA) are best searched for via their well-understood inspiral waves; higher mass BBHs must be searched for via their poorly understood merger waves and/or their well-understood ringdown waves. A matched filtering search for massive BBHs based on ringdown waves should be capable of finding BBHs in the mass range of about 100M⊙–700M⊙ out to ∼200 Mpc for initial LIGO interferometers, and in the mass range of ∼200M⊙ to ∼3000M⊙ out to about z=1 for advanced interferometers. The required number of templates is of the order of 6000 or less. Searches based on merger waves could increase the number of detected massive BBHs by a factor of the order of 10 over those found from inspiral and ringdown waves, without detailed knowledge of the waveform shapes, using a noise monitoring search algorithm which we describe. A full set of merger templates from numerical relativity simulations could further increase the number of detected BBHs by an additional factor of up to ∼4.

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Additional Information:©1998 The American Physical Society Received 17 January 1997 We thank Kip Thorne for suggesting this project to us, for being a constant source of ideas and encouragement along the way, and for detailed comments on the paper’s content and presentation. We also thank Patrick Brady and David Chernoff for some helpful conversations, and Tom Prince and Chip Sumner for locating a well-hidden typographical error in one of our equations. This research was supported by NSF Grants PHY-9220644, PHY-9408378, PHY-9424337, and PHY-9514726, and by NASA Grant NAGW-4268. S.A.H. gratefully acknowledges the support of the National Science Foundation Graduate Program. É. E´. Flanagan would like to thank the Enrico Fermi Institute for financial support.
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ID Code:4680
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:03 Sep 2006
Last Modified:02 Oct 2019 23:15

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