[0907.3292] Probing seed black holes using future gravitational-wave detectors

Authors: Jonathan R Gair, Ilya Mandel, Alberto Sesana, Alberto Vecchio

Date: 20 Jul 2009

Abstract: Identifying the properties of the first generation of seeds of massive black holes is key to understanding the merger history and growth of galaxies. Mergers between ~100 solar mass seed black holes generate gravitational waves in the 0.1-10Hz band that lies between the sensitivity bands of existing ground-based detectors and the planned space-based gravitational wave detector, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). However, there are proposals for more advanced detectors that will bridge this gap, including the third generation ground-based Einstein Telescope and the space-based detector DECIGO. In this paper we demonstrate that such future detectors should be able to detect gravitational waves produced by the coalescence of the first generation of light seed black-hole binaries and provide information on the evolution of structure in that era. These observations will be complementary to those that LISA will make of subsequent mergers between more massive black holes. We compute the sensitivity of various future detectors to seed black-hole mergers, and use this to explore the number and properties of the events that each detector might see in three years of observation. For this calculation, we make use of galaxy merger trees and two different seed black hole mass distributions in order to construct the astrophysical population of events. We also consider the accuracy with which networks of future ground-based detectors will be able to measure the parameters of seed black hole mergers, in particular the luminosity distance to the source. We show that distance precisions of ~30% are achievable, which should be sufficient for us to say with confidence that the sources are at high redshift.

abs pdf

Jul 21, 2009

0907.3292 (/preprints)
2009-07-21, 10:11 [edit]

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