Authors: Neil Cornish, Laura Sampson, Nico Yunes, Frans Pretorius
Date: 11 May 2011
Abstract: Gravitational wave astronomy has tremendous potential for studying extreme astrophysical phenomena and exploring fundamental physics. The waves produced by binary black hole mergers will provide a pristine environment in which to study strong field, dynamical gravity. Extracting detailed information about these systems requires accurate theoretical models of the gravitational wave signals. If gravity is not described by General Relativity, analyses that are based on waveforms derived from Einstein's field equations could result in parameter biases and a loss of detection efficiency. A new class of "parameterized post-Einsteinian" (ppE) waveforms has been proposed to cover this eventuality. Here we apply the ppE approach to simulated data from a network of advanced ground based interferometers (aLIGO/aVirgo) and from a future spaced based interferometer (LISA). Bayesian inference and model selection are used to investigate parameter biases, and to determine the level at which departures from general relativity can be detected. We find that in some cases the parameter biases from assuming the wrong theory can be severe. We also find that gravitational wave observations will beat the existing bounds on deviations from general relativity derived from the orbital decay of binary pulsars by a large margin across a wide swath of parameter space.
© M. Vallisneri 2012 — last modified on 2010/01/29
Tantum in modicis, quantum in maximis