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Published August 5, 2016 | Published
Journal Article Open

Detecting Gravitational-Wave Memory with LIGO: Implications of GW150914


It may soon be possible for Advanced LIGO to detect hundreds of binary black hole mergers per year. We show how the accumulation of many such measurements will allow for the detection of gravitational-wave memory: a permanent displacement of spacetime that comes from strong-field, general relativistic effects. We estimate that Advanced LIGO operating at design sensitivity may be able to make a signal-to-noise ratio 3 (5) detection of memory with ∼35 (90) events with masses and distance similar to GW150914. We highlight the importance of incorporating higher-order gravitational-wave modes for parameter estimation of binary black hole mergers, and describe how our methods can also be used to detect higher-order modes themselves before Advanced LIGO reaches design sensitivity.

Additional Information

© 2016 American Physical Society. (Received 4 May 2016; revised manuscript received 17 June 2016; published 5 August 2016) We are grateful to Lydia Bieri, Ilya Mandel, Chris Matzner, Ed Porter, Vivien Raymond, Letizia Sammut, and Rory Smith for valuable conversations. We thank the referees for their thorough review of our manuscript. P. D. L. and Y. L. are supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project No. DP1410102578. E. T. and Y. L. are, respectively, supported through ARC FT150100281 and FT110100384. Y. C. is supported by NSF Grant No. NSF.1404569.

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Published - PhysRevLett.117.061102.pdf


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