[1007.4213] Intrinsic selection biases of ground-based gravitational wave searches for high-mass BH-BH mergers

Authors: Richard O'Shaughnessy (1,4), Birjoo Vaishnav (2), James Healy (3), Deirdre Shoemaker (3) ((1) Center for Gravitational Wave Physics, Penn State University, (2) Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy, The University of Texas at Brownsville, (3) Center for Relativistic Astrophysics, Georgia Tech, (4) Center for Gravitation and Cosmology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

Date: 23 Jul 2010

Abstract: The next generation of ground-based gravitational wave detectors may detect a few mergers of comparable-mass M\simeq 100-1000 Msun ("intermediate-mass'', or IMBH) spinning black holes. Black hole spin is known to have a significant impact on the orbit, merger signal, and post-merger ringdown of any binary with non-negligible spin. In particular, the detection volume for spinning binaries depends significantly on the component black hole spins. We provide a fit to the single-detector and isotropic-network detection volume versus (total) mass and arbitrary spin for equal-mass binaries. Our analysis assumes matched filtering to all significant available waveform power (up to l=6 available for fitting, but only l<= 4 significant) estimated by an array of 64 numerical simulations with component spins as large as S_{1,2}/Mˆ2 <= 0.8. We provide a spin-dependent estimate of our uncertainty, up to S_{1,2}/Mˆ2 <= 1. For the initial (advanced) LIGO detector, our fits are reliable for $M\in[100,500]M_\odot$ ($M\in[100,1600]M_\odot$). In the online version of this article, we also provide fits assuming incomplete information, such as the neglect of higher-order harmonics. We briefly discuss how a strong selection bias towards aligned spins influences the interpretation of future gravitational wave detections of IMBH-IMBH mergers.

abs pdf

Jul 26, 2010

1007.4213 (/preprints)
2010-07-26, 23:07 [edit]

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