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Published November 16, 2007 | public
Journal Article Open

Prospects for Detection of Gravitational Waves from Intermediate-Mass-Ratio Inspirals


We explore prospects for detecting gravitational waves from stellar-mass compact objects spiraling into intermediate mass black holes (BHs) M~50M[sun] to 350M[sun]) with ground-based observatories. We estimate a rate for such intermediate-mass-ratio inspirals of <~1–30 yr^-1 in Advanced LIGO. We show that if the central body is not a BH but its metric is stationary, axisymmetric, reflection symmetric and asymptotically flat, then the waves will likely be triperiodic, as for a BH. We suggest that the evolutions of the waves' three fundamental frequencies and of the complex amplitudes of their spectral components encode (in principle) details of the central body's metric, the energy and angular momentum exchange between the central body and the orbit, and the time-evolving orbital elements. We estimate that advanced ground-based detectors can constrain central body deviations from a BH with interesting accuracy.

Additional Information

©2007 The American Physical Society. (Received 11 December 2006; revised 4 May 2007; published 16 November 2007) We are grateful to Y. Chen, T. Creighton, C. Cutler, S. Drasco, C. Miller, Y. Pan, and S. Phinney for discussions. This work was supported in part by NSF Grants PHY-0099568 and PHY-0601459, NASA Grant NNG04GK98G, a grant from the Brinson Foundation, and NSF cooperative agreement PHY-0107417.


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August 22, 2023
October 16, 2023