results for au:Boyle_M in:gr-qc

- Dec 19 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.GA arXiv:1712.05836v2In response to LIGO's observation of GW170104, we performed a series of full numerical simulations of binary black holes, each designed to replicate likely realizations of its dynamics and radiation. These simulations have been performed at multiple resolutions and with two independent techniques to solve Einstein's equations. For the nonprecessing and precessing simulations, we demonstrate the two techniques agree mode by mode, at a precision substantially in excess of statistical uncertainties in current LIGO's observations. Conversely, we demonstrate our full numerical solutions contain information which is not accurately captured with the approximate phenomenological models commonly used to infer compact binary parameters. To quantify the impact of these differences on parameter inference for GW170104 specifically, we compare the predictions of our simulations and these approximate models to LIGO's observations of GW170104.
- May 30 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1705.09833v1We present and assess a Bayesian method to interpret gravitational wave signals from binary black holes. Our method directly compares gravitational wave data to numerical relativity simulations. This procedure bypasses approximations used in semi-analytical models for compact binary coalescence. In this work, we use only the full posterior parameter distribution for generic nonprecessing binaries, drawing inferences away from the set of NR simulations used, via interpolation of a single scalar quantity (the marginalized log-likelihood, $\ln {\cal L}$) evaluated by comparing data to nonprecessing binary black hole simulations. We also compare the data to generic simulations, and discuss the effectiveness of this procedure for generic sources. We specifically assess the impact of higher order modes, repeating our interpretation with both $l\le2$ as well as $l\le3$ harmonic modes. Using the $l\le3$ higher modes, we gain more information from the signal and can better constrain the parameters of the gravitational wave signal. We assess and quantify several sources of systematic error that our procedure could introduce, including simulation resolution and duration; most are negligible. We show through examples that our method can recover the parameters for equal mass, zero spin; GW150914-like; and unequal mass, precessing spin sources. Our study of this new parameter estimation method demonstrates we can quantify and understand the systematic and statistical error. This method allows us to use higher order modes from numerical relativity simulations to better constrain the black hole binary parameters.
- A Numerical Relativity Waveform Surrogate Model for Generically Precessing Binary Black Hole MergersMay 22 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1705.07089v2A generic, non-eccentric binary black hole (BBH) system emits gravitational waves (GWs) that are completely described by 7 intrinsic parameters: the black hole spin vectors and the ratio of their masses. Simulating a BBH coalescence by solving Einstein's equations numerically is computationally expensive, requiring days to months of computing resources for a single set of parameter values. Since theoretical predictions of the GWs are often needed for many different source parameters, a fast and accurate model is essential. We present the first surrogate model for GWs from the coalescence of BBHs including all $7$ dimensions of the intrinsic non-eccentric parameter space. The surrogate model, which we call NRSur7dq2, is built from the results of $744$ numerical relativity simulations. NRSur7dq2 covers spin magnitudes up to $0.8$ and mass ratios up to $2$, includes all $\ell \leq 4$ modes, begins about $20$ orbits before merger, and can be evaluated in $\sim~50\,\mathrm{ms}$. We find the largest NRSur7dq2 errors to be comparable to the largest errors in the numerical relativity simulations, and more than an order of magnitude smaller than the errors of other waveform models. Our model, and more broadly the methods developed here, will enable studies that would otherwise require millions of numerical relativity waveforms, such as parameter inference and tests of general relativity with GW observations.
- Nov 24 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1611.07531v2Parameter estimates of GW150914 were obtained using Bayesian inference, based on three semi-analytic waveform models for binary black hole coalescences. These waveform models differ from each other in their treatment of black hole spins, and all three models make some simplifying assumptions, notably to neglect sub-dominant waveform harmonic modes and orbital eccentricity. Furthermore, while the models are calibrated to agree with waveforms obtained by full numerical solutions of Einstein's equations, any such calibration is accurate only to some non-zero tolerance and is limited by the accuracy of the underlying phenomenology, availability, quality, and parameter-space coverage of numerical simulations. This paper complements the original analyses of GW150914 with an investigation of the effects of possible systematic errors in the waveform models on estimates of its source parameters. To test for systematic errors we repeat the original Bayesian analyses on mock signals from numerical simulations of a series of binary configurations with parameters similar to those found for GW150914. Overall, we find no evidence for a systematic bias relative to the statistical error of the original parameter recovery of GW150914 due to modeling approximations or modeling inaccuracies. However, parameter biases are found to occur for some configurations disfavored by the data of GW150914: for binaries inclined edge-on to the detector over a small range of choices of polarization angles, and also for eccentricities greater than $\sim$0.05. For signals with higher signal-to-noise ratio than GW150914, or in other regions of the binary parameter space (lower masses, larger mass ratios, or higher spins), we expect that systematic errors in current waveform models may impact gravitational-wave measurements, making more accurate models desirable for future observations.
- Nov 14 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1611.03703v3We improve the accuracy of the effective-one-body (EOB) waveforms that were employed during the first observing run of Advanced LIGO for binaries of spinning, nonprecessing black holes by calibrating them to a set of 141 numerical-relativity (NR) waveforms. The NR simulations expand the domain of calibration towards larger mass ratios and spins, as compared to the previous EOBNR model. Merger-ringdown waveforms computed in black-hole perturbation theory for Kerr spins close to extremal provide additional inputs to the calibration. For the inspiral-plunge phase, we use a Markov-chain Monte Carlo algorithm to efficiently explore the calibration space. For the merger-ringdown phase, we fit the NR signals with phenomenological formulae. After extrapolation of the calibrated model to arbitrary mass ratios and spins, the (dominant-mode) EOBNR waveforms have faithfulness --- at design Advanced-LIGO sensitivity --- above $99\%$ against all the NR waveforms, including 16 additional waveforms used for validation, when maximizing only on initial phase and time. This implies a negligible loss in event rate due to modeling for these binary configurations. We find that future NR simulations at mass ratios $\gtrsim 4$ and double spin $\gtrsim 0.8$ will be crucial to resolve discrepancies between different ways of extrapolating waveform models. We also find that some of the NR simulations that already exist in such region of parameter space are too short to constrain the low-frequency portion of the models. Finally, we build a reduced-order version of the EOBNR model to speed up waveform generation by orders of magnitude, thus enabling intensive data-analysis applications during the upcoming observation runs of Advanced LIGO.
- We present a time domain waveform model that describes the inspiral-merger-ringdown (IMR) of compact binary systems whose components are non-spinning, and which evolve on orbits with low to moderate eccentricity. The inspiral evolution is described using third order post-Newtonian equations both for the equations of motion of the binary, and its far-zone radiation field. This latter component also includes instantaneous, tails and tails-of-tails contributions, and a contribution due to non-linear memory. This framework reduces to the post-Newtonian approximant TaylorT4 at third post-Newtonian order in the zero eccentricity limit. To improve phase accuracy, we incorporate higher-order post-Newtonian corrections for the energy flux of quasi-circular binaries and gravitational self-force corrections to the binding energy of compact binaries. This enhanced inspiral evolution prescription is combined with an analytical prescription for the merger-ringdown evolution using a catalog of numerical relativity simulations. This IMR waveform model reproduces effective-one-body waveforms for systems with mass-ratios between 1 to 15 in the zero eccentricity limit. Using a set of eccentric numerical relativity simulations, not used during calibration, we show that our eccentric model accurately reproduces the features of eccentric compact binary coalescence throughout the merger. Using this model we show that the gravitational wave transients GW150914 and GW151226 can be effectively recovered with template banks of quasi-circular, spin-aligned waveforms if the eccentricity $e_0$ of these systems when they enter the aLIGO band at a gravitational wave frequency of 14 Hz satisfies $e_0^{\rm GW150914}\leq0.15$ and $e_0^{\rm GW151226}\leq0.1$.
- Jul 20 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1607.05377v1In fall of 2015, the two LIGO detectors measured the gravitational wave signal GW150914, which originated from a pair of merging black holes. In the final 0.2 seconds (about 8 gravitational-wave cycles) before the amplitude reached its maximum, the observed signal swept up in amplitude and frequency, from 35 Hz to 150 Hz. The theoretical gravitational-wave signal for merging black holes, as predicted by general relativity, can be computed only by full numerical relativity, because analytic approximations fail near the time of merger. Moreover, the nearly-equal masses, moderate spins, and small number of orbits of GW150914 are especially straightforward and efficient to simulate with modern numerical-relativity codes. In this paper, we report the modeling of GW150914 with numerical-relativity simulations, using black-hole masses and spins consistent with those inferred from LIGO's measurement. In particular, we employ two independent numerical-relativity codes that use completely different analytical and numerical methods to model the same merging black holes and to compute the emitted gravitational waveform; we find excellent agreement between the waveforms produced by the two independent codes. These results demonstrate the validity, impact, and potential of current and future studies using rapid-response, targeted numerical-relativity simulations for better understanding gravitational-wave observations.
- We compare GW150914 directly to simulations of coalescing binary black holes in full general relativity, accounting for all the spin-weighted quadrupolar modes, and separately accounting for all the quadrupolar and octopolar modes. Consistent with the posterior distributions reported in LVC_PE[1] (at 90% confidence), we find the data are compatible with a wide range of nonprecessing and precessing simulations. Followup simulations performed using previously-estimated binary parameters most resemble the data. Comparisons including only the quadrupolar modes constrain the total redshifted mass Mz ∈[64 - 82M_⊙], mass ratio q = m2/m1 ∈[0.6,1], and effective aligned spin \chi_eff ∈[-0.3, 0.2], where \chi_eff = (S1/m1 + S2/m2) ⋅\hatL /M. Including both quadrupolar and octopolar modes, we find the mass ratio is even more tightly constrained. Simulations with extreme mass ratios and effective spins are highly inconsistent with the data, at any mass. Several nonprecessing and precessing simulations with similar mass ratio and \chi_eff are consistent with the data. Though correlated, the components' spins (both in magnitude and directions) are not significantly constrained by the data. For nonprecessing binaries, interpolating between simulations, we reconstruct a posterior distribution consistent with previous results. The final black hole's redshifted mass is consistent with Mf,z between 64.0 - 73.5M_⊙and the final black hole's dimensionless spin parameter is consistent with af = 0.62 - 0.73. As our approach invokes no intermediate approximations to general relativity and can strongly reject binaries whose radiation is inconsistent with the data, our analysis provides a valuable complement to LVC_PE[1].
- Apr 28 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1604.08139v2A common problem in physics and engineering is determination of the orientation of an object given its angular velocity. When the direction of the angular velocity changes in time, this is a nontrivial problem involving coupled differential equations. Several possible approaches are examined, along with various improvements over previous efforts. These are then evaluated numerically by comparison to a complicated but analytically known rotation that is motivated by the important astrophysical problem of precessing black-hole binaries. It is shown that a straightforward solution directly using quaternions is most efficient and accurate, and that the norm of the quaternion is irrelevant. Integration of the generator of the rotation can also be made roughly as efficient as integration of the rotation. Both methods will typically be twice as efficient as naive vector- or matrix-based methods. Implementation by means of standard general-purpose numerical integrators is stable and efficient, so that such problems can be readily solved as part of a larger system of differential equations. Possible generalization to integration in other Lie groups is also discussed.
- Spin-weighted spherical functions provide a useful tool for analyzing tensor-valued functions on the sphere. A tensor field can be decomposed into complex-valued functions by taking contractions with tangent vectors on the sphere and the normal to the sphere. These component functions are usually presented as functions on the sphere itself, but this requires an implicit choice of distinguished tangent vectors with which to contract. Thus, we may more accurately say that spin-weighted spherical functions are functions of both a point on the sphere and a choice of frame in the tangent space at that point. The distinction becomes extremely important when transforming the coordinates in which these functions are expressed, because the implicit choice of frame will also transform. Here, it is proposed that spin-weighted spherical functions should be treated as functions on the spin group. This approach more cleanly reflects the geometry involved, and allows for a more elegant description of the behavior of spin-weighted functions. In this form, the spin-weighted spherical harmonics have simple expressions as elements of the Wigner $\mathfrak{D}$ representations, and transformations under rotation are simple. Two variants of the angular-momentum operator are defined directly in terms of the spin group; one is the standard angular-momentum operator $\mathbf{L}$, while the other is shown to be related to the spin-raising operator $\eth$. Computer code is also included, providing an explicit implementation of the spin-weighted spherical harmonics in this form.
- Feb 12 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1602.03840v2On September 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detected a gravitational-wave transient (GW150914); we characterize the properties of the source and its parameters. The data around the time of the event were analyzed coherently across the LIGO network using a suite of accurate waveform models that describe gravitational waves from a compact binary system in general relativity. GW150914 was produced by a nearly equal mass binary black hole of $36^{+5}_{-4} M_\odot$ and $29^{+4}_{-4} M_\odot$; for each parameter we report the median value and the range of the 90% credible interval. The dimensionless spin magnitude of the more massive black hole is bound to be $<0.7$ (at 90% probability). The luminosity distance to the source is $410^{+160}_{-180}$ Mpc, corresponding to a redshift $0.09^{+0.03}_{-0.04}$ assuming standard cosmology. The source location is constrained to an annulus section of $610$ deg$^2$, primarily in the southern hemisphere. The binary merges into a black hole of $62^{+4}_{-4} M_\odot$ and spin $0.67^{+0.05}_{-0.07}$. This black hole is significantly more massive than any other inferred from electromagnetic observations in the stellar-mass regime.
- Jan 21 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1601.05396v2Coalescing binary black holes are among the primary science targets for second generation ground-based gravitational wave (GW) detectors. Reliable GW models are central to detection of such systems and subsequent parameter estimation. This paper performs a comprehensive analysis of the accuracy of recent waveform models for binary black holes with aligned spins, utilizing a new set of $84$ high-accuracy numerical relativity simulations. Our analysis covers comparable mass binaries ($1\le m_1/m_2\le 3$), and samples independently both black hole spins up to dimensionless spin-magnitude of $0.9$ for equal-mass binaries and $0.85$ for unequal mass binaries. Furthermore, we focus on the high-mass regime (total mass $\gtrsim 50M_\odot$). The two most recent waveform models considered (PhenomD and SEOBNRv2) both perform very well for signal detection, losing less than 0.5\% of the recoverable signal-to-noise ratio $\rho$, except that SEOBNRv2's efficiency drops mildly for both black hole spins aligned with large magnitude. For parameter estimation, modeling inaccuracies of SEOBNRv2 are found to be smaller than systematic uncertainties for moderately strong GW events up to roughly $\rho\lesssim 15$. PhenomD's modeling errors are found to be smaller than SEOBNRv2's, and are generally irrelevant for $\rho\lesssim 20$. Both models' accuracy deteriorates with increased mass-ratio, and when at least one black hole spin is large and aligned. The SEOBNRv2 model shows a pronounced disagreement with the numerical relativity simulation in the merger phase, for unequal masses and simultaneously both black hole spins very large and aligned. Two older waveform models (PhenomC and SEOBNRv1) are found to be distinctly less accurate than the more recent PhenomD and SEOBNRv2 models. Finally, we quantify the bias expected from all GW models during parameter estimation for recovery of binary's masses and spins.
- Dec 22 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1512.06800v2We present a new set of 95 numerical relativity simulations of non-precessing binary black holes (BBHs). The simulations sample comprehensively both black-hole spins up to spin magnitude of 0.9, and cover mass ratios 1 to 3. The simulations cover on average 24 inspiral orbits, plus merger and ringdown, with low initial orbital eccentricities $e<10^{-4}$. A subset of the simulations extends the coverage of non-spinning BBHs up to mass ratio $q=10$. Gravitational waveforms at asymptotic infinity are computed with two independent techniques, extrapolation, and Cauchy characteristic extraction. An error analysis based on noise-weighted inner products is performed. We find that numerical truncation error, error due to gravitational wave extraction, and errors due to the finite length of the numerical waveforms are of similar magnitude, with gravitational wave extraction errors somewhat dominating at noise-weighted mismatches of $\sim 3\times 10^{-4}$. This set of waveforms will serve to validate and improve aligned-spin waveform models for gravitational wave science.
- Sep 04 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1509.00862v3Gravitational-wave data is gauge dependent. While we can restrict the class of gauges in which such data may be expressed, there will still be an infinite-dimensional group of transformations allowed while remaining in this class, and almost as many different---though physically equivalent---waveforms as there are transformations. This paper presents a method for calculating the effects of the most important transformation group, the Bondi-Metzner-Sachs (BMS) group, consisting of rotations, boosts, and supertranslations (which include time and space translations as special cases). To a reasonable approximation, these transformations result in simple coupling between the modes in a spin-weighted spherical-harmonic decomposition of the waveform. It is shown that waveforms from simulated compact binaries in the publicly available SXS waveform catalog contain unmodeled effects due to displacement and drift of the center of mass, accounting for mode-mixing at typical levels of 1%. However, these effects can be mitigated by measuring the average motion of the system's center of mass for a portion of the inspiral, and applying the opposite transformation to the waveform data. More generally, controlling the BMS transformations will be necessary to eliminate the gauge ambiguity inherent in gravitational-wave data for both numerical and analytical waveforms. Open-source code implementing BMS transformations of waveforms is included along with this paper in the supplemental materials.
- Jun 05 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1506.01689v1Construction of binary black hole initial data is a prerequisite for numerical evolutions of binary black holes. This paper reports improvements to the binary black hole initial data solver in the Spectral Einstein Code, to allow robust construction of initial data for mass-ratio above 10:1, and for dimensionless black hole spins above 0.9, while improving efficiency for lower mass-ratios and spins. We implement a more flexible domain decomposition, adaptive mesh refinement and an updated method for choosing free parameters. We also introduce a new method to control and eliminate residual linear momentum in initial data for precessing systems, and demonstrate that it eliminates gravitational mode mixing during the evolution. Finally, the new code is applied to construct initial data for hyperbolic scattering and for binaries with very small separation.
- Feb 09 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1502.01747v1Binary black-hole systems are expected to be important sources of gravitational waves for upcoming gravitational-wave detectors. If the spins are not colinear with each other or with the orbital angular momentum, these systems exhibit complicated precession dynamics that are imprinted on the gravitational waveform. We develop a new procedure to match the precession dynamics computed by post-Newtonian (PN) theory to those of numerical binary black-hole simulations in full general relativity. For numerical relativity NR) simulations lasting approximately two precession cycles, we find that the PN and NR predictions for the directions of the orbital angular momentum and the spins agree to better than $\sim 1^{\circ}$ with NR during the inspiral, increasing to $5^{\circ}$ near merger. Nutation of the orbital plane on the orbital time-scale agrees well between NR and PN, whereas nutation of the spin direction shows qualitatively different behavior in PN and NR. We also examine how the PN equations for precession and orbital-phase evolution converge with PN order, and we quantify the impact of various choices for handling partially known PN terms.
- Dec 05 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1412.1803v1Astrophysical black holes could be nearly extremal (that is, rotating nearly as fast as possible); therefore, nearly extremal black holes could be among the binaries that current and future gravitational-wave observatories will detect. Predicting the gravitational waves emitted by merging black holes requires numerical-relativity simulations, but these simulations are especially challenging when one or both holes have mass $m$ and spin $S$ exceeding the Bowen-York limit of $S/m^2=0.93$. We present improved methods that enable us to simulate merging, nearly extremal black holes more robustly and more efficiently. We use these methods to simulate an unequal-mass, precessing binary black hole coalescence, where the larger black hole has $S/m^2=0.99$. We also use these methods to simulate a non-precessing binary black hole coalescence, where both black holes have $S/m^2=0.994$, nearly reaching the Novikov-Thorne upper bound for holes spun up by thin accretion disks. We demonstrate numerical convergence and estimate the numerical errors of the waveforms; we compare numerical waveforms from our simulations with post-Newtonian and effective-one-body waveforms; we compare the evolution of the black-hole masses and spins with analytic predictions; and we explore the effect of increasing spin magnitude on the orbital dynamics (the so-called "orbital hangup" effect).
- Sep 17 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1409.4431v2Gravitational waves from precessing black-hole binaries exhibit features that are absent in nonprecessing systems. The most prominent of these is a parity-violating asymmetry that beams energy and linear momentum preferentially along or opposite to the orbital angular momentum, leading to recoil of the binary. The asymmetry will appear as amplitude and phase modulations at the orbital frequency. For strongly precessing systems, it accounts for at least 3% amplitude modulation for binaries in the sensitivity band of ground-based gravitational-wave detectors, and can exceed 50% for massive systems. Such asymmetric features are also clearly visible when the waves are decomposed into modes of spin-weighted spherical harmonics, and are inherent in the waves themselves---rather than resulting from residual eccentricity in numerical simulations, or from mode-mixing due to precession. In particular, there is generically no instantaneous frame for which the mode decomposition will have any symmetry. We introduce a method to simplify the expressions for waveforms given in analytical relativity, which can be used to combine existing high-order waveforms for nonprecessing systems with expressions for the precessing contributions, leading to improved accuracy and a unified treatment of precessing and nonprecessing binaries. Using this method, it is possible to clarify the nature and the origins of the asymmetries and show the effects of asymmetry on recoils more clearly. We present post-Newtonian (PN) expressions for the waveform modes that include these terms, complete to the relative 2PN level in spin (proportional to $v^4/c^4$ times a certain combination of the spins). Comparing the results of those expressions to numerical results, we find good qualitative agreement. We also demonstrate how these expressions can be used to efficiently calculate waveforms for gravitational-wave astronomy.
- Jan 07 2014 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1401.0939v1The Numerical INJection Analysis (NINJA) project is a collaborative effort between members of the numerical relativity and gravitational-wave astrophysics communities. The purpose of NINJA is to study the ability to detect gravitational waves emitted from merging binary black holes and recover their parameters with next-generation gravitational-wave observatories. We report here on the results of the second NINJA project, NINJA-2, which employs 60 complete binary black hole hybrid waveforms consisting of a numerical portion modelling the late inspiral, merger, and ringdown stitched to a post-Newtonian portion modelling the early inspiral. In a "blind injection challenge" similar to that conducted in recent LIGO and Virgo science runs, we added 7 hybrid waveforms to two months of data recolored to predictions of Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo sensitivity curves during their first observing runs. The resulting data was analyzed by gravitational-wave detection algorithms and 6 of the waveforms were recovered with false alarm rates smaller than 1 in a thousand years. Parameter estimation algorithms were run on each of these waveforms to explore the ability to constrain the masses, component angular momenta and sky position of these waveforms. We also perform a large-scale monte-carlo study to assess the ability to recover each of the 60 hybrid waveforms with early Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo sensitivity curves. Our results predict that early Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo will have a volume-weighted average sensitive distance of 300Mpc (1Gpc) for $10M_{\odot}+10M_{\odot}$ ($50M_{\odot}+50M_{\odot}$) binary black hole coalescences. We demonstrate that neglecting the component angular momenta in the waveform models used in matched-filtering will result in a reduction in sensitivity for systems with large component angular momenta. [Abstract abridged for ArXiv, full version in PDF]
- Nov 12 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1311.2544v1Gravitational waves emitted by black-hole binary systems have the highest signal-to-noise ratio in LIGO and Virgo detectors when black-hole spins are aligned with the orbital angular momentum and extremal. For such systems, we extend the effective-one-body inspiral-merger-ringdown waveforms to generic mass ratios and spins calibrating them to 38 numerical-relativity nonprecessing waveforms produced by the SXS Collaboration. The numerical-relativity simulations span mass ratios from 1 to 8, spin magnitudes up to 98% of extremality, and last for 40 to 60 gravitational-wave cycles. When the total mass of the binary is between 20Msun and 200Msun, the effective-one-body nonprecessing (dominant mode) waveforms have overlaps above 99% (using the advanced-LIGO design noise spectral density) with all of the 38 nonprecessing numerical waveforms, when maximizing only on initial phase and time. This implies a negligible loss in event rate due to modeling. Moreover, without further calibration, we show that the precessing effective-one-body (dominant mode) waveforms have overlaps above 97% with two very long, strongly precessing numerical-relativity waveforms, when maximizing only on the initial phase and time.
- Nov 12 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1311.2565v1The detection of gravitational waves and the extraction of physical information from them requires the prediction of accurate waveforms to be used in template banks. For that purpose, the accuracy of effective-one-body (EOB) waveforms has been improved over the last years by calibrating them to numerical-relativity (NR) waveforms. So far, the calibration has employed a handful of NR waveforms with a total length of ~30 cycles, the length being limited by the computational cost of NR simulations. Here we address the outstanding problem of the stability of the EOB calibration with respect to the length of NR waveforms. Performing calibration studies against NR waveforms of nonspinning black-hole binaries with mass ratios 1, 1.5, 5, and 8, and with a total length of ~60 cycles, we find that EOB waveforms calibrated against either 30 or 60 cycles will be indistinguishable by the advanced detectors LIGO and Virgo when the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is below 110. When extrapolating to a very large number of cycles, using very conservative assumptions, we can conclude that state-of-the-art nonspinning EOB waveforms of any length are sufficiently accurate for parameter estimation with advanced detectors when the SNR is below 20, the mass ratio is below 5 and total mass is above 20 Msun. The results are not conclusive for the entire parameter space because of current NR errors.
- Gravitational waves (GW) from coalescing stellar-mass black hole binaries (BBH) are expected to be detected by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory and Advanced Virgo. Detection searches operate by matched-filtering the detector data using a bank of waveform templates. Traditionally, template banks for BBH are constructed from intermediary analytical waveform models which are calibrated against numerical relativity simulations and which can be aluated for any choice of BBH parameters. This paper explores an alternative to the traditional approach, namely the construction of template banks directly from numerical BBH simulations. Using non-spinning BBH systems as an example, we demonstrate which regions of the mass-parameter plane can be covered with existing numerical BBH waveforms. We estimate the required number and required length of BBH simulations to cover the entire non-spinning BBH parameter plane up to mass-ratio 10, thus illustrating that our approach can be used to guide parameter placement of future numerical simulations. We derive error bounds which are independent of analytical waveform models; therefore, our formalism can be used to independently test the accuracy of such waveform models. The resulting template banks are suitable for advanced LIGO searches.
- Sep 17 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1309.3605v1We extract gravitational waveforms from numerical simulations of black hole binaries computed using the Spectral Einstein Code. We compare two extraction methods: direct construction of the Newman-Penrose (NP) scalar $\Psi_4$ at a finite distance from the source and Cauchy-characteristic extraction (CCE). The direct NP approach is simpler than CCE, but NP waveforms can be contaminated by near-zone effects---unless the waves are extracted at several distances from the source and extrapolated to infinity. Even then, the resulting waveforms can in principle be contaminated by gauge effects. In contrast, CCE directly provides, by construction, gauge-invariant waveforms at future null infinity. We verify the gauge invariance of CCE by running the same physical simulation using two different gauge conditions. We find that these two gauge conditions produce the same CCE waveforms but show differences in extrapolated-$\Psi_4$ waveforms. We examine data from several different binary configurations and measure the dominant sources of error in the extrapolated-$\Psi_4$ and CCE waveforms. In some cases, we find that NP waveforms extrapolated to infinity agree with the corresponding CCE waveforms to within the estimated error bars. However, we find that in other cases extrapolated and CCE waveforms disagree, most notably for $m=0$ "memory" modes.
- Jul 22 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1307.5307v3The Numerical-Relativity-Analytical-Relativity (NRAR) collaboration is a joint effort between members of the numerical relativity, analytical relativity and gravitational-wave data analysis communities. The goal of the NRAR collaboration is to produce numerical-relativity simulations of compact binaries and use them to develop accurate analytical templates for the LIGO/Virgo Collaboration to use in detecting gravitational-wave signals and extracting astrophysical information from them. We describe the results of the first stage of the NRAR project, which focused on producing an initial set of numerical waveforms from binary black holes with moderate mass ratios and spins, as well as one non-spinning binary configuration which has a mass ratio of 10. All of the numerical waveforms are analysed in a uniform and consistent manner, with numerical errors evaluated using an analysis code created by members of the NRAR collaboration. We compare previously-calibrated, non-precessing analytical waveforms, notably the effective-one-body (EOB) and phenomenological template families, to the newly-produced numerical waveforms. We find that when the binary's total mass is ~100-200 solar masses, current EOB and phenomenological models of spinning, non-precessing binary waveforms have overlaps above 99% (for advanced LIGO) with all of the non-precessing-binary numerical waveforms with mass ratios <= 4, when maximizing over binary parameters. This implies that the loss of event rate due to modelling error is below 3%. Moreover, the non-spinning EOB waveforms previously calibrated to five non-spinning waveforms with mass ratio smaller than 6 have overlaps above 99.7% with the numerical waveform with a mass ratio of 10, without even maximizing on the binary parameters.
- Apr 23 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1304.6077v3This paper presents a publicly available catalog of 174 numerical binary black-hole simulations following up to 35 orbits. The catalog includes 91 precessing binaries, mass ratios up to 8:1, orbital eccentricities from a few percent to $10^{-5}$, black-hole spins up to 98% of the theoretical maximum, and radiated energies up to 11.1% of the initial mass. We establish remarkably good agreement with post-Newtonian precession of orbital and spin directions for two new precessing simulations, and we discuss other applications of this catalog. Formidable challenges remain: e.g., precession complicates the connection of numerical and approximate analytical waveforms, and vast regions of the parameter space remain unexplored.
- Feb 14 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1302.2919v3This paper defines an angular velocity for time-dependent functions on the sphere, and applies it to gravitational waveforms from compact binaries. Because it is geometrically meaningful and has a clear physical motivation, the angular velocity is uniquely useful in helping to solve an important---and largely ignored---problem in models of compact binaries: the inverse problem of deducing the physical parameters of a system from the gravitational waves alone. It is also used to define the corotating frame of the waveform. When decomposed in this frame, the waveform has no rotational dynamics and is therefore as slowly evolving as possible. The resulting simplifications lead to straightforward methods for accurately comparing waveforms and constructing hybrids. As formulated in this paper, the methods can be applied robustly to both precessing and nonprecessing waveforms, providing a clear, comprehensive, and consistent framework for waveform analysis. Explicit implementations of all these methods are provided in accompanying computer code.
- Oct 11 2012 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1210.3007v2This article studies sufficient accuracy criteria of hybrid post-Newtonian (PN) and numerical relativity (NR) waveforms for parameter estimation of strong binary black-hole sources in second- generation ground-based gravitational-wave detectors. We investigate equal-mass non-spinning binaries with a new 33-orbit NR waveform, as well as unequal-mass binaries with mass ratios 2, 3, 4 and 6. For equal masses, the 33-orbit NR waveform allows us to recover previous results and to extend the analysis toward matching at lower frequencies. For unequal masses, the errors between different PN approximants increase with mass ratio. Thus, at 3.5PN, hybrids for higher-mass-ratio systems would require NR waveforms with many more gravitational-wave (GW) cycles to guarantee no adverse impact on parameter estimation. Furthermore, we investigate the potential improvement in hybrid waveforms that can be expected from 4th order post-Newtonian waveforms, and find that knowledge of this 4th post-Newtonian order would significantly improve the accuracy of hybrid waveforms.
- Jun 15 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1206.2943v3Initial data for numerical evolutions of binary-black holes have been dominated by "conformally flat" (CF) data (i.e., initial data where the conformal background metric is chosen to be flat) because they are easy to construct. However, CF initial data cannot simulate nearly extremal spins, while more complicated "conformally curved" initial data (i.e., initial data in which the background metric is \emphnot explicitly chosen to be flat), such as initial data where the spatial metric is chosen to be proportional to a weighted superposition of two Kerr-Schild (SKS) black holes can. Here we establish the consistency between the astrophysical results of these two initial data schemes for nonspinning binary systems. We evolve the inspiral, merger, and ringdown of two equal-mass, nonspinning black holes using SKS initial data and compare with an analogous simulation using CF initial data. We find that the resultant gravitational-waveform phases agree to within $\delta \phi \lesssim 10^{-2}$ radians and the amplitudes agree to within $\delta A/A \lesssim 5 \times 10^{-3}$, which are within the numerical errors of the simulations. Furthermore, we find that the final mass and spin of the remnant black hole agree to one part in $10^5
- Feb 06 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1202.0790v2We first use five non-spinning and two mildly spinning (chi_i ≃-0.44, +0.44) numerical-relativity waveforms of black-hole binaries and calibrate an effective-one-body (EOB) model for non-precessing spinning binaries, notably its dynamics and the dominant (2,2) gravitational-wave mode. Then, we combine the above results with recent outcomes of small-mass-ratio simulations produced by the Teukolsky equation and build a prototype EOB model for detection purposes, which is capable of generating inspiral-merger-ringdown waveforms for non-precessing spinning black-hole binaries with any mass ratio and individual black-hole spins -1 ≤chi_i ≲0.7. We compare the prototype EOB model to two equal-mass highly spinning numerical-relativity waveforms of black holes with spins chi_i = -0.95, +0.97, which were not available at the time the EOB model was calibrated. In the case of Advanced LIGO we find that the mismatch between prototype-EOB and numerical-relativity waveforms is always smaller than 0.003 for total mass 20-200 M_⊙, the mismatch being computed by maximizing only over the initial phase and time. To successfully generate merger waveforms for individual black-hole spins chi_i ≳0.7, the prototype-EOB model needs to be improved by (i) better modeling the plunge dynamics and (ii) including higher-order PN spin terms in the gravitational-wave modes and radiation-reaction force.
- Jan 26 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1201.5319v1The Numerical INJection Analysis (NINJA) project is a collaborative effort between members of the numerical relativity and gravitational wave data analysis communities. The purpose of NINJA is to study the sensitivity of existing gravitational-wave search and parameter-estimation algorithms using numerically generated waveforms, and to foster closer collaboration between the numerical relativity and data analysis communities. The first NINJA project used only a small number of injections of short numerical-relativity waveforms, which limited its ability to draw quantitative conclusions. The goal of the NINJA-2 project is to overcome these limitations with long post-Newtonian - numerical relativity hybrid waveforms, large numbers of injections, and the use of real detector data. We report on the submission requirements for the NINJA-2 project and the construction of the waveform catalog. Eight numerical relativity groups have contributed 63 hybrid waveforms consisting of a numerical portion modelling the late inspiral, merger, and ringdown stitched to a post-Newtonian portion modelling the early inspiral. We summarize the techniques used by each group in constructing their submissions. We also report on the procedures used to validate these submissions, including examination in the time and frequency domains and comparisons of waveforms from different groups against each other. These procedures have so far considered only the $(\ell,m)=(2,2)$ mode. Based on these studies we judge that the hybrid waveforms are suitable for NINJA-2 studies. We note some of the plans for these investigations.
- Jan 24 2012 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1201.4413v3We present the results of a LIGO search for gravitational waves (GWs) associated with GRB 051103, a short-duration hard-spectrum gamma-ray burst (GRB) whose electromagnetically determined sky position is coincident with the spiral galaxy M81, which is 3.6 Mpc from Earth. Possible progenitors for short-hard GRBs include compact object mergers and soft gamma repeater (SGR) giant flares. A merger progenitor would produce a characteristic GW signal that should be detectable at the distance of M81, while GW emission from an SGR is not expected to be detectable at that distance. We found no evidence of a GW signal associated with GRB 051103. Assuming weakly beamed gamma-ray emission with a jet semi-angle of 30 deg we exclude a binary neutron star merger in M81 as the progenitor with a confidence of 98%. Neutron star-black hole mergers are excluded with > 99% confidence. If the event occurred in M81 our findings support the the hypothesis that GRB 051103 was due to an SGR giant flare, making it the most distant extragalactic magnetar observed to date.
- Oct 14 2011 gr-qc arXiv:1110.2965v3We discuss a geometrical method to define a preferred reference frame for precessing binary systems and the gravitational waves they emit. This minimal-rotation frame is aligned with the angular-momentum axis and fixes the rotation about that axis up to a constant angle, resulting in an essentially invariant frame. Gravitational waveforms decomposed in this frame are similarly invariant under rotations of the inertial frame and exhibit relatively smoothly varying phase. By contrast, earlier prescriptions for radiation-aligned frames induce extraneous features in the gravitational-wave phase which depend on the orientation of the inertial frame, leading to fluctuations in the frequency that may compound to many gravitational-wave cycles. We explore a simplified description of post-Newtonian approximations for precessing systems using the minimal-rotation frame, and describe the construction of analytical/numerical hybrid waveforms for such systems.
- Oct 12 2011 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1110.2229v1Motivated by the possibility of observing gravitational waves from merging black holes whose spins are nearly extremal (i.e., 1 in dimensionless units), we present numerical waveforms from simulations of merging black holes with the highest spins simulated to date: (1) a 25.5-orbit inspiral, merger, and ringdown of two holes with equal masses and spins of magnitude 0.97 aligned with the orbital angular momentum; and (2) a previously reported 12.5-orbit inspiral, merger, and ringdown of two holes with equal masses and spins of magnitude 0.95 anti-aligned with the orbital angular momentum. First, we consider the horizon mass and spin evolution of the new aligned-spin simulation. During the inspiral, the horizon area and spin evolve in remarkably close agreement with Alvi's analytic predictions, and the remnant hole's final spin agrees reasonably well with several analytic predictions. We also find that the total energy emitted by a real astrophysical system with these parameters---almost all of which is radiated during the time included in this simulation---would be 10.952% of the initial mass at infinite separation. Second, we consider the gravitational waveforms for both simulations. After estimating their uncertainties, we compare the waveforms to several post-Newtonian approximants, finding significant disagreement well before merger, although the phase of the TaylorT4 approximant happens to agree remarkably well with the numerical prediction in the aligned-spin case. We find that the post-Newtonian waveforms have sufficient uncertainty that hybridized waveforms will require far longer numerical simulations (in the absence of improved post-Newtonian waveforms) for accurate parameter estimation of low-mass binary systems.
- Jun 07 2011 gr-qc arXiv:1106.1021v2We calibrate an effective-one-body (EOB) model to numerical-relativity simulations of mass ratios 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6, by maximizing phase and amplitude agreement of the leading (2,2) mode and of the subleading modes (2,1), (3,3), (4,4) and (5,5). Aligning the calibrated EOB waveforms and the numerical waveforms at low frequency, the phase difference of the (2,2) mode between model and numerical simulation remains below 0.1 rad throughout the evolution for all mass ratios considered. The fractional amplitude difference at peak amplitude of the (2,2) mode is 2% and grows to 12% during the ringdown. Using the Advanced LIGO noise curve we study the effectualness and measurement accuracy of the EOB model, and stress the relevance of modeling the higher-order modes for parameter estimation. We find that the effectualness, measured by the mismatch, between the EOB and numerical-relativity polarizations which include only the (2,2) mode is smaller than 0.2% for binaries with total mass 20-200 Msun and mass ratios 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. When numerical-relativity polarizations contain the strongest seven modes, and stellar-mass black holes with masses less than 50Msun are considered, the mismatch for mass ratio 6 (1) can be as high as 5% (0.2%) when only the EOB (2,2) mode is included, and an upper bound of the mismatch is 0.5% (0.07%) when all the four subleading EOB modes calibrated in this paper are taken into account. For binaries with intermediate-mass black holes with masses greater than 50Msun the mismatches are larger. We also determine for which signal-to-noise ratios the EOB model developed here can be used to measure binary parameters with systematic biases smaller than statistical errors due to detector noise.
- Apr 15 2011 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1104.2712v2We present direct upper limits on continuous gravitational wave emission from the Vela pulsar using data from the Virgo detector's second science run. These upper limits have been obtained using three independent methods that assume the gravitational wave emission follows the radio timing. Two of the methods produce frequentist upper limits for an assumed known orientation of the star's spin axis and value of the wave polarization angle of, respectively, $1.9\ee{-24}$ and $2.2\ee{-24}$, with 95% confidence. The third method, under the same hypothesis, produces a Bayesian upper limit of $2.1\ee{-24}$, with 95% degree of belief. These limits are below the indirect \it spin-down limit of $3.3\ee{-24}$ for the Vela pulsar, defined by the energy loss rate inferred from observed decrease in Vela's spin frequency, and correspond to a limit on the star ellipticity of $\sim 10^{-3}$. Slightly less stringent results, but still well below the spin-down limit, are obtained assuming the star's spin axis inclination and the wave polarization angles are unknown.
- Mar 29 2011 gr-qc arXiv:1103.5088v2A general method is presented for estimating the uncertainty in hybrid models of gravitational waveforms from binary black-hole systems with arbitrary physical parameters, and thence the highest allowable initial orbital frequency for a numerical-relativity simulation such that the combined analytical and numerical waveform meets some minimum desired accuracy. The key strength of this estimate is that no prior numerical simulation in the relevant region of parameter space is needed, which means that these techniques can be used to direct future work. The method is demonstrated for a selection of extreme physical parameters. It is shown that optimal initial orbital frequencies depend roughly linearly on the mass of the binary, and therefore useful accuracy criteria must depend explicitly on the mass. The results indicate that accurate estimation of the parameters of stellar-mass black-hole binaries in Advanced LIGO data or calibration of waveforms for detection will require much longer numerical simulations than are currently available or more accurate post-Newtonian approximations -- or both -- especially for comparable-mass systems with high spin.
- Feb 21 2011 gr-qc arXiv:1102.3781v1We present the first modeled search for gravitational waves using the complete binary black hole gravitational waveform from inspiral through the merger and ringdown for binaries with negligible component spin. We searched approximately 2 years of LIGO data taken between November 2005 and September 2007 for systems with component masses of 1-99 solar masses and total masses of 25-100 solar masses. We did not detect any plausible gravitational-wave signals but we do place upper limits on the merger rate of binary black holes as a function of the component masses in this range. We constrain the rate of mergers for binary black hole systems with component masses between 19 and 28 solar masses and negligible spin to be no more than 2.0 per Mpc^3 per Myr at 90% confidence.
- Nov 19 2010 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1011.4079v2Soft gamma repeaters (SGRs) and anomalous X-ray pulsars (AXPs) are thought to be magnetars: neutron stars powered by extreme magnetic fields. These rare objects are characterized by repeated and sometimes spectacular gamma-ray bursts. The burst mechanism might involve crustal fractures and excitation of non-radial modes which would emit gravitational waves (GWs). We present the results of a search for GW bursts from six galactic magnetars that is sensitive to neutron star f-modes, thought to be the most efficient GW emitting oscillatory modes in compact stars. One of them, SGR 0501+4516, is likely ~1 kpc from Earth, an order of magnitude closer than magnetars targeted in previous GW searches. A second, AXP 1E 1547.0-5408, gave a burst with an estimated isotropic energy >10^44 erg which is comparable to the giant flares. We find no evidence of GWs associated with a sample of 1279 electromagnetic triggers from six magnetars occurring between November 2006 and June 2009, in GW data from the LIGO, Virgo, and GEO600 detectors. Our lowest model-dependent GW emission energy upper limits for band- and time-limited white noise bursts in the detector sensitive band, and for f-mode ringdowns (at 1090 Hz), are 3.0x10^44 d_1^2 erg and 1.4x10^47 d_1^2 erg respectively, where d_1 = d_0501 / 1 kpc and d_0501 is the distance to SGR 0501+4516. These limits on GW emission from f-modes are an order of magnitude lower than any previous, and approach the range of electromagnetic energies seen in SGR giant flares for the first time.
- Jul 23 2010 gr-qc arXiv:1007.3973v1The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) is a network of three detectors built to detect local perturbations in the space-time metric from astrophysical sources. These detectors, two in Hanford, WA and one in Livingston, LA, are power-recycled Fabry-Perot Michelson interferometers. In their fifth science run (S5), between November 2005 and October 2007, these detectors accumulated one year of triple coincident data while operating at their designed sensitivity. In this paper, we describe the calibration of the instruments in the S5 data set, including measurement techniques and uncertainty estimation.
- Jun 15 2010 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1006.2535v2We present a search for periodic gravitational waves from the neutron star in the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. The search coherently analyzes data in a 12-day interval taken from the fifth science run of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. It searches gravitational wave frequencies from 100 to 300 Hz, and covers a wide range of first and second frequency derivatives appropriate for the age of the remnant and for different spin-down mechanisms. No gravitational wave signal was detected. Within the range of search frequencies, we set 95% confidence upper limits of 0.7--1.2e-24 on the intrinsic gravitational wave strain, 0.4--4e-4 on the equatorial ellipticity of the neutron star, and 0.005--0.14 on the amplitude of r-mode oscillations of the neutron star. These direct upper limits beat indirect limits derived from energy conservation and enter the range of theoretical predictions involving crystalline exotic matter or runaway r-modes. This is the first gravitational wave search to present upper limits on r-modes.
- We present an up-to-date, comprehensive summary of the rates for all types of compact binary coalescence sources detectable by the Initial and Advanced versions of the ground-based gravitational-wave detectors LIGO and Virgo. Astrophysical estimates for compact-binary coalescence rates depend on a number of assumptions and unknown model parameters, and are still uncertain. The most confident among these estimates are the rate predictions for coalescing binary neutron stars which are based on extrapolations from observed binary pulsars in our Galaxy. These yield a likely coalescence rate of 100 per Myr per Milky Way Equivalent Galaxy (MWEG), although the rate could plausibly range from 1 per Myr per MWEG to 1000 per Myr per MWEG. We convert coalescence rates into detection rates based on data from the LIGO S5 and Virgo VSR2 science runs and projected sensitivities for our Advanced detectors. Using the detector sensitivities derived from these data, we find a likely detection rate of 0.02 per year for Initial LIGO-Virgo interferometers, with a plausible range between 0.0002 and 0.2 per year. The likely binary neutron-star detection rate for the Advanced LIGO-Virgo network increases to 40 events per year, with a range between 0.4 and 400 per year.
- Mar 15 2010 gr-qc arXiv:1003.2481v3We summarize the sensitivity achieved by the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave detectors for compact binary coalescence (CBC) searches during LIGO's fifth science run and Virgo's first science run. We present noise spectral density curves for each of the four detectors that operated during these science runs which are representative of the typical performance achieved by the detectors for CBC searches. These spectra are intended for release to the public as a summary of detector performance for CBC searches during these science runs.
- May 27 2009 gr-qc arXiv:0905.4227v1The 2008 NRDA conference introduced the Numerical INJection Analysis project (NINJA), a new collaborative effort between the numerical relativity community and the data analysis community. NINJA focuses on modeling and searching for gravitational wave signatures from the coalescence of binary system of compact objects. We review the scope of this collaboration and the components of the first NINJA project, where numerical relativity groups shared waveforms and data analysis teams applied various techniques to detect them when embedded in colored Gaussian noise.
- May 20 2009 gr-qc arXiv:0905.3177v2Two complementary techniques are developed for obtaining the asymptotic form of gravitational-wave data at large radii from numerical simulations, in the form of easily implemented algorithms. It is shown that, without extrapolation, near-field effects produce errors in extracted waveforms that can significantly affect LIGO data analysis. The extrapolation techniques are discussed in the context of Newman--Penrose data applied to extrapolation of waveforms from an equal-mass, nonspinning black-hole binary simulation. The results of the two methods are shown to agree within error estimates. The various benefits and deficiencies of the methods are discussed.
- Jan 29 2009 gr-qc arXiv:0901.4399v2The Numerical INJection Analysis (NINJA) project is a collaborative effort between members of the numerical relativity and gravitational-wave data analysis communities. The purpose of NINJA is to study the sensitivity of existing gravitational-wave search algorithms using numerically generated waveforms and to foster closer collaboration between the numerical relativity and data analysis communities. We describe the results of the first NINJA analysis which focused on gravitational waveforms from binary black hole coalescence. Ten numerical relativity groups contributed numerical data which were used to generate a set of gravitational-wave signals. These signals were injected into a simulated data set, designed to mimic the response of the Initial LIGO and Virgo gravitational-wave detectors. Nine groups analysed this data using search and parameter-estimation pipelines. Matched filter algorithms, un-modelled-burst searches and Bayesian parameter-estimation and model-selection algorithms were applied to the data. We report the efficiency of these search methods in detecting the numerical waveforms and measuring their parameters. We describe preliminary comparisons between the different search methods and suggest improvements for future NINJA analyses.
- Jan 19 2009 gr-qc arXiv:0901.2437v3We quantify the consistency of numerical-relativity black-hole-binary waveforms for use in gravitational-wave (GW) searches with current and planned ground-based detectors. We compare previously published results for the $(\ell=2,| m | =2)$ mode of the gravitational waves from an equal-mass nonspinning binary, calculated by five numerical codes. We focus on the 1000M (about six orbits, or 12 GW cycles) before the peak of the GW amplitude and the subsequent ringdown. We find that the phase and amplitude agree within each code's uncertainty estimates. The mismatch between the $(\ell=2,| m| =2)$ modes is better than $10^{-3}$ for binary masses above $60 M_{\odot}$ with respect to the Enhanced LIGO detector noise curve, and for masses above $180 M_{\odot}$ with respect to Advanced LIGO, Virgo and Advanced Virgo. Between the waveforms with the best agreement, the mismatch is below $2 \times 10^{-4}$. We find that the waveforms would be indistinguishable in all ground-based detectors (and for the masses we consider) if detected with a signal-to-noise ratio of less than $\approx14$, or less than $\approx25$ in the best cases.
- Jan 13 2009 gr-qc arXiv:0901.1628v2We study the effectiveness of stationary-phase approximated post-Newtonian waveforms currently used by ground-based gravitational-wave detectors to search for the coalescence of binary black holes by comparing them to an accurate waveform obtained from numerical simulation of an equal-mass non-spinning binary black hole inspiral, merger and ringdown. We perform this study for the Initial- and Advanced-LIGO detectors. We find that overlaps between the templates and signal can be improved by integrating the match filter to higher frequencies than used currently. We propose simple analytic frequency cutoffs for both Initial and Advanced LIGO, which achieve nearly optimal matches, and can easily be extended to unequal-mass, spinning systems. We also find that templates that include terms in the phase evolution up to 3.5 pN order are nearly always better, and rarely significantly worse, than 2.0 pN templates currently in use. For Initial LIGO we recommend a strategy using templates that include a recently introduced pseudo-4.0 pN term in the low-mass ($M \leq 35 \MSun$) region, and 3.5 pN templates allowing unphysical values of the symmetric reduced mass $\eta$ above this. This strategy always achieves overlaps within 0.3% of the optimum, for the data used here. For Advanced LIGO we recommend a strategy using 3.5 pN templates up to $M=12 \MSun$, 2.0 pN templates up to $M=21 \MSun$, pseudo-4.0 pN templates up to $65 \MSun$, and 3.5 pN templates with unphysical $\eta$ for higher masses. This strategy always achieves overlaps within 0.7% of the optimum for Advanced LIGO.
- Oct 11 2008 gr-qc arXiv:0810.1767v2The first spectral numerical simulations of 16 orbits, merger, and ringdown of an equal-mass non-spinning binary black hole system are presented. Gravitational waveforms from these simulations have accumulated numerical phase errors through ringdown of ~0.1 radian when measured from the beginning of the simulation, and ~0.02 radian when waveforms are time and phase shifted to agree at the peak amplitude. The waveform seen by an observer at infinity is determined from waveforms computed at finite radii by an extrapolation process accurate to ~0.01 radian in phase. The phase difference between this waveform at infinity and the waveform measured at a finite radius of r=100M is about half a radian. The ratio of final mass to initial mass is M_f/M = 0.95162 +- 0.00002, and the final black hole spin is S_f/M_f^2=0.68646 +- 0.00004.
- Apr 29 2008 gr-qc arXiv:0804.4184v2Expressions for the gravitational wave (GW) energy flux and center-of-mass energy of a compact binary are integral building blocks of post-Newtonian (PN) waveforms. In this paper, we compute the GW energy flux and GW frequency derivative from a highly accurate numerical simulation of an equal-mass, non-spinning black hole binary. We also estimate the (derivative of the) center-of-mass energy from the simulation by assuming energy balance. We compare these quantities with the predictions of various PN approximants (adiabatic Taylor and Pade models; non-adiabatic effective-one-body (EOB) models). We find that Pade summation of the energy flux does not accelerate the convergence of the flux series; nevertheless, the Pade flux is markedly closer to the numerical result for the whole range of the simulation (about 30 GW cycles). Taylor and Pade models overestimate the increase in flux and frequency derivative close to merger, whereas EOB models reproduce more faithfully the shape of and are closer to the numerical flux, frequency derivative and derivative of energy. We also compare the GW phase of the numerical simulation with Pade and EOB models. Matching numerical and untuned 3.5 PN order waveforms, we find that the phase difference accumulated until $M \omega = 0.1$ is -0.12 radians for Pade approximants, and 0.50 (0.45) radians for an EOB approximant with Keplerian (non-Keplerian) flux. We fit free parameters within the EOB models to minimize the phase difference, and confirm degeneracies among these parameters. By tuning pseudo 4PN order coefficients in the radial potential or in the flux, or, if present, the location of the pole in the flux, we find that the accumulated phase difference can be reduced - if desired - to much less than the estimated numerical phase error (0.02 radians).
- Oct 02 2007 gr-qc arXiv:0710.0158v2Numerical simulations of 15 orbits of an equal-mass binary black hole system are presented. Gravitational waveforms from these simulations, covering more than 30 cycles and ending about 1.5 cycles before merger, are compared with those from quasi-circular zero-spin post-Newtonian (PN) formulae. The cumulative phase uncertainty of these comparisons is about 0.05 radians, dominated by effects arising from the small residual spins of the black holes and the small residual orbital eccentricity in the simulations. Matching numerical results to PN waveforms early in the run yields excellent agreement (within 0.05 radians) over the first $\sim 15$ cycles, thus validating the numerical simulation and establishing a regime where PN theory is accurate. In the last 15 cycles to merger, however, \em generic time-domain Taylor approximants build up phase differences of several radians. But, apparently by coincidence, one specific post-Newtonian approximant, TaylorT4 at 3.5PN order, agrees much better with the numerical simulations, with accumulated phase differences of less than 0.05 radians over the 30-cycle waveform. Gravitational-wave amplitude comparisons are also done between numerical simulations and post-Newtonian, and the agreement depends on the post-Newtonian order of the amplitude expansion: the amplitude difference is about 6--7% for zeroth order and becomes smaller for increasing order. A newly derived 3.0PN amplitude correction improves agreement significantly ($<1%$ amplitude difference throughout most of the run, increasing to 4% near merger) over the previously known 2.5PN amplitude terms.
- Sep 04 2007 gr-qc arXiv:0709.0093v3This document proposes data formats to exchange numerical relativity results, in particular gravitational waveforms. The primary goal is to further the interaction between gravitational-wave source modeling groups and the gravitational-wave data-analysis community. We present a simple and extendable format which is applicable to various kinds of gravitational wave sources including binaries of compact objects and systems undergoing gravitational collapse, but is nevertheless sufficiently general to be useful for other purposes.
- Sep 15 2006 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/0609047v2The accuracy and stability of the Caltech-Cornell pseudospectral code is evaluated using the KST representation of the Einstein evolution equations. The basic "Mexico City Tests" widely adopted by the numerical relativity community are adapted here for codes based on spectral methods. Exponential convergence of the spectral code is established, apparently limited only by numerical roundoff error. A general expression for the growth of errors due to finite machine precision is derived, and it is shown that this limit is achieved here for the linear plane-wave test. All of these tests are found to be stable, except for simulations of high amplitude gauge waves with nontrivial shift.