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Published May 15, 2017 | Submitted + Published
Journal Article Open

A Surrogate model of gravitational waveforms from numerical relativity simulations of precessing binary black hole mergers


We present the first surrogate model for gravitational waveforms from the coalescence of precessing binary black holes. We call this surrogate model NRSur4d2s. Our methodology significantly extends recently introduced reduced-order and surrogate modeling techniques, and is capable of directly modeling numerical relativity waveforms without introducing phenomenological assumptions or approximations to general relativity. Motivated by GW150914, LIGO's first detection of gravitational waves from merging black holes, the model is built from a set of 276 numerical relativity (NR) simulations with mass ratios q ≤ 2, dimensionless spin magnitudes up to 0.8, and the restriction that the initial spin of the smaller black hole lies along the axis of orbital angular momentum. It produces waveforms which begin ∼ 30 gravitational wave cycles before merger and continue through ringdown, and which contain the effects of precession as well as all ℓ∈{2,3} spin-weighted spherical-harmonic modes. We perform cross-validation studies to compare the model to NR waveforms not used to build the model and find a better agreement within the parameter range of the model than other, state-of-the-art precessing waveform models, with typical mismatches of 10^(-3). We also construct a frequency domain surrogate model (called NRSur4d2s_FDROM) which can be evaluated in 50 ms and is suitable for performing parameter estimation studies on gravitational wave detections similar to GW150914.

Additional Information

© 2017 American Physical Society. Received 4 January 2017; published 17 May 2017. We thank Michael Boyle, Alessandra Buonanno, Kipp Cannon, Maria Okounkova, Richard O'Shaughnessy, Christian Ott, Harald Pfeiffer, Michael Pürrer, and Saul Teukolsky for many useful discussions throughout this project. We also thank Andy Bohn, Nick Demos, Alyssa Garcia, Matt Giesler, Maria Okounkova, and Vijay Varma for helping to carry out the SpEC simulations used in this work. This work was supported in part by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation and NSF Grant No. PHY-1404569 at Caltech. J. B. gratefully acknowledges support from NSERC of Canada. Computations were performed on NSF/NCSA Blue Waters under allocation PRAC ACI-1440083; on the NSF XSEDE network under allocation TG-PHY990007; on the Zwicky cluster at Caltech, which is supported by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation and by NSF Grant No. PHY-0960291; and on the ORCA cluster at California State University at Fullerton, which is supported by NSF Grant No. PHY-1429873, the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, and California State University at Fullerton.

Attached Files

Published - PhysRevD.95.104023.pdf

Submitted - 1701.00550.pdf


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