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Reliability of complete gravitational waveform models for compact binary coalescences

Ohme, Frank, Hannam, Mark ORCID: and Husa, S. 2011. Reliability of complete gravitational waveform models for compact binary coalescences. Physical Review D 84 (6) , 064029. 10.1103/PhysRevD.84.064029

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Accurate knowledge of the gravitational-wave (GW) signal from inspiraling compact binaries is essential to detect these signatures in the data from GW interferometers. With recent advances in post- Newtonian (PN) theory and numerical relativity (NR) it has become possible to construct inspiral-mergerringdown waveforms by combining both descriptions into one complete hybrid signal. While addressing the reliability of such waveforms in different points of the physical parameter space, previous studies have identified the PN contribution as the dominant source of error, which can be reduced by incorporating longer NR simulations. In this paper we overcome the two outstanding issues that make it difficult to determine the minimum simulation length necessary to produce suitably accurate hybrids for GW astronomy applications: (1) the relevant criteria for a GW search is the mismatch between the true waveform and a set of model waveforms, optimized over all waveforms in the model, but for discrete hybrids this optimization was not yet possible. (2) these calculations typically require that numerical waveforms already exist, while we develop an algorithm to estimate hybrid mismatch errors without numerical data, which enables us to estimate the necessary NR waveform length before performing the simulation. Our procedure relies on combining supposedly equivalent PN models at highest available order with common data in the NR regime, and their difference serves as a measure of the uncertainty assumed in each waveform. Contrary to some earlier studies, we estimate that �10 NR orbits before merger should allow for the construction of waveform families that are accurate enough for detection in a broad range of parameters, only excluding highly spinning, unequal-mass systems. Nonspinning systems, even with high mass-ratio (q * 20) are well modeled for astrophysically reasonable component masses. In addition, the parameter bias is only of the order of 1% for total mass and symmetric mass-ratio and less than 0.1 for the dimensionless spin magnitude. We take the view that similar NR waveform lengths will remain the state of the art in the advanced detector era, and begin to assess the limits of the science that can be done with them.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Publisher: American Physical Society
ISSN: 0556-2821
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 12:03

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