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Published September 15, 2016 | Submitted + Published
Journal Article Open

One-armed spiral instability in neutron star mergers and its detectability in gravitational waves


We study the development and saturation of the m=1 one-armed spiral instability in remnants of binary neutron star mergers by means of high-resolution long-term numerical relativity simulations. Our results suggest that this instability is a generic outcome of neutron star mergers in astrophysically relevant configurations, including both "stiff" and "soft" nuclear equations of state. We find that, once seeded at merger, the m=1 mode saturates within ∼10  ms and persists over secular time scales. Gravitational waves emitted by the m=1 instability have a peak frequency around 1–2 kHz and, if detected, they could be used to constrain the equation of state of neutron stars. We construct hybrid waveforms spanning the entire Advanced LIGO band by combining our high-resolution numerical data with state-of-the-art effective-one-body waveforms including tidal effects. We use the complete hybrid waveforms to study the detectability of the one-armed spiral instability for both Advanced LIGO and the Einstein Telescope. We conclude that the one-armed spiral instability is not an efficient gravitational wave emitter. Even under very optimistic assumptions, Advanced LIGO will only be able to detect the one-armed instability up to ∼3  Mpc, which corresponds to an event rate of 10^(−7)  yr^(−1) to 10^(−4)  yr^(−1). Third-generation detectors or better will likely be required to observe the one-armed instability.

Additional Information

© 2016 American Physical Society. Received 17 March 2016; revised manuscript received 4 August 2016; published 6 September 2016. We thank Stefan Hild for the ET-D noise curve data and acknowledge useful discussions with L. Baiotti, W. E. East, F. Galeazzi, W. Kastaun, K. Kiuchi, V. Paschalidis, L. Rezzolla, M. Shibata, and K. Takami. This research was partially supported by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation, by the International Research Unit of Advanced Future Studies, Kyoto University, and by the National Science Foundation under Grants No. CAREER PHY-1151197, No. PHY-1404569, and No. AST-1333520. The simulations were performed on the Caltech computer Zwicky (NSF No. PHY-0960291), on NSF XSEDE (No. TG-PHY100033), and on NSF/NCSA Blue Waters (NSF PRAC No. ACI-1440083). This article has been assigned Yukawa Institute Report No. YITP-16-21.

Attached Files

Published - PhysRevD.94.064011.pdf

Submitted - 1603.05726v1.pdf


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