[1111.5274] Towards a generic test of the strong field dynamics of general relativity using compact binary coalescence: Further investigations

Authors: T. G. F. Li, W. Del Pozzo, S. Vitale, C. Van Den Broeck, M. Agathos, J. Veitch, K. Grover, T. Sidery, R. Sturani, A. Vecchio

Date: 22 Nov 2011

Abstract: Coalescences of binary neutron stars and/or black holes are candidate sources for the first direct detection of gravitational waves. These events will also provide us with the very first empirical access to the genuinely strong-field dynamics of General Relativity (GR). We elaborate on a framework based on Bayesian model selection aimed at detecting deviations from GR, subject to the constraints of Advanced Virgo and LIGO detectors, first introduced by Li et al. (2011). The key aspect of the framework is testing the consistency of the post-Newtonian gravitational-wave phase coefficients in the inspiral regime with the predictions made by GR, without relying on any specific alternative theory of gravity. The framework is suitable for low signal-to-noise events through construction of multiple subtests, most of which involving only a limited number of phase coefficients. The framework also naturally allows for the combination of multiple sources to increase the information extracted for GR testing. In our previous work, we conjectured that this framework can detect generic deviations from GR that can in principle not be accomodated by our model waveforms, on condition that the change in phase near frequencies where the detectors are the most sensitive is comparable to that induced by simple shifts in the lower-order phase coefficients of more than a few percent. To further support this claim, we perform additional numerical experiments in Gaussian and stationary noise according to the expected Advanced LIGO/Virgo noise curves, and injecting signals whose phasing differs structurally from the predictions of GR, but with the magnitude of the deviation still being small. We find that even then, a violation of GR can be established with good confidence.

abs pdf

Nov 23, 2011

1111.5274 (/preprints)
2011-11-23, 23:39 [edit]

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