Authors: R. J. E. Smith, I. Mandel, A. Vecchio
Date: 25 Feb 2013
Abstract: The coalescence of a stellar-mass compact object into an intermediate-mass black hole (intermediate mass-ratio coalescence; IMRAC) is an important astrophysical source for ground-based gravitational-wave interferometers in the so-called advanced configuration. However, the ability to carry out effective matched-filter based searches for these systems is limited by the lack of reliable waveforms. Here we consider binaries in which the intermediate-mass black hole has mass in the range 24 - 200 solar masses with a stellar-mass companion having masses in the range 1.4 - 18.5 solar masses. In addition, we constrain the mass ratios, q, of the binaries to be in the range 1/140 < q < 1/10 and we restrict our study to the case of circular binaries with non-spinning components. We investigate the relative contribution to the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the three different phases of the coalescence: inspiral, merger and ringdown. We show that merger and ringdown contribute to a substantial fraction of the total SNR over a large portion of the mass parameter space, although in a limited portion the SNR is dominated by the inspiral phase. We further identify three regions in the IMRAC mass-space in which: (i) inspiral-only searches could be performed with losses in detection rates L in the range 10% < L < 27%, (ii) searches based on inspiral-only templates lead to a loss in detection rates in the range 27% < L < 50%$, and (iii) templates that include merger and ringdown are essential to prevent losses in detection rates greater than 50%. We investigate the effectiveness with which the inspiral-only portion of the IMRAC waveform space is covered by comparing several existing waveform families in this regime. Our results reinforce the importance of extensive numerical relativity simulations of IMRACs and the need for further studies of suitable approximation schemes in this mass range.
© M. Vallisneri 2012 — last modified on 2010/01/29
Tantum in modicis, quantum in maximis