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Published January 15, 2019 | Published + Submitted
Journal Article Open

Systematic effects from black hole-neutron star waveform model uncertainties on the neutron star equation of state


We identify various contributors of systematic effects in the measurement of the neutron star (NS) tidal deformability and quantify their magnitude for several types of neutron star—black hole (NSBH) binaries. Gravitational waves from NSBH mergers contain information about the components' masses and spins as well as the NS equation of state. Extracting this information requires comparison of the signal in noisy detector data with theoretical templates derived from some combination of post-Newtonian (PN) approximants, effective one-body (EOB) models, and numerical relativity (NR) simulations. The accuracy of these templates is limited by errors in the NR simulations, by the approximate nature of the PN/EOB waveforms, and by the hybridization procedure used to combine them. In this paper, we estimate the impact of these errors by constructing and comparing a set of PN-NR hybrid waveforms, for the first time with NR waveforms from two different codes, namely, SpEC and sacra, for such systems. We then attempt to recover the parameters of the binary using two non-precessing template approximants. As expected, these errors have negligible effect on detectability. Mass and spin estimates are moderately affected by systematic errors for near equal-mass binaries, while the recovered masses can be inaccurate at higher mass ratios. Large uncertainties are also found in the tidal deformability Λ , due to differences in PN base models used in hybridization, numerical relativity NR errors, and inherent limitations of the hybridization method. We find that systematic errors are too large for tidal effects to be accurately characterized for any realistic NS equation of state model. We conclude that NSBH waveform models must be significantly improved if they are to be useful for the extraction of NS equation of state information or even for distinguishing NSBH systems from binary black holes.

Additional Information

© 2019 American Physical Society. (Received 19 September 2018; published 31 January 2019) We thank Bhooshan Gadre and Archisman Ghosh for helpful discussions. We also thank Prayush Kumar for carefully reading the manuscript and making useful suggestions. K. C. and S. B. acknowledge support from the Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust. A. G. acknowledges support from SERB-NPDF Grant No. (PDF/2015/000263), NSF Grants No. AST-1716394 and No. AST-1708146, and the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation of The Pittsburgh Foundation. F. F. gratefully acknowledges support from NASA Grant No. 80NSSC18K0565. K. K. is supported by Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Kakenhi Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (No. JP16H06342, No. JP17H01131, and No. JP18H04595). M. D. acknowledges support through NSF Grant No. PHY-1806207. L. K. acknowledges support from NSF Grant No. PHY-1606654, and M. S. from NSF Grants No. PHY-1708212, No. PHY-1708213, and No. PHY-1404569. L. K. and M. S. also thank the Sherman Fairchild Foundation for their support. S. G. acknowledges NSF Award PHY-1607585 that funded this work. This project has been assigned preprint number LIGO-P1800191.

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Submitted - 1809.04349.pdf

Published - PhysRevD.99.024049.pdf


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August 19, 2023
August 19, 2023