[1210.1891] Impact of Higher-order Modes on the Detection of Binary Black Hole Coalescences

Authors: Larne Pekowsky, James Healy, Deirdre Shoemaker, Pablo Laguna

Date: 5 Oct 2012

Abstract: The inspiral and merger of black-hole binary systems are a promising source of gravitational waves. The most effective method to look for a signal with a well understood waveform, such as the binary black hole signal, is matched filtering against a library of model waveforms. Current model waveforms are comprised solely of the dominant radiation mode, the quadrupole mode, although it is known that there can be significant power in the higher-order modes. The binary black hole waveforms produced by numerical relativity are accurate through late inspiral, merger, and ringdown and include the higher-order modes. The available numerical-relativity waveforms span an increasing portion of the physical parameter space of unequal mass, spin and precession. In this paper, we investigate the degree to which gravitational-wave searches could be improved by the inclusion of higher modes in the model waveforms, for signals with a variety of initial mass ratios and generic spins. Our investigation studies how well the quadrupole-only waveform model matches the signal as a function of the inclination and orientation of the source and how the modes contribute to the distance reach into the Universe of Advanced LIGO for a fixed set of internal source parameters. The mismatch between signals and quadrupole-only waveform can be large, dropping below 0.97 for up to 65% of the source-sky for the non-precessing cases we studied, and over a larger area in one precessing case. There is a corresponding 30% increase in detection volume that could be achieved by adding higher modes to the search; however, this is mitigated by the fact that the mismatch is largest for signals which radiate the least energy and to which the search is therefore least sensitive. Likewise, the mismatch is largest in directions from the source along which the least energy is radiated.

abs pdf

Oct 15, 2012

1210.1891 (/preprints)
2012-10-15, 22:57 [edit]

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