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Journal Article

"Kludge" gravitational waveforms for a test-body orbiting a Kerr black hole


Babak,  Stanislav
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Babak, S., Fang, H., Gair, J. R., Glampedakis, K., & Hughes, S. A. (2007). "Kludge" gravitational waveforms for a test-body orbiting a Kerr black hole. Physical Review D, 75: 024005. Retrieved from http://link.aps.org/abstract/PRD/v75/e024005.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-4933-F
One of the most exciting potential sources of gravitational waves for low-frequency, space-based gravitational wave (GW) detectors such as the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) is the inspiral of compact objects into massive black holes in the centers of galaxies. The detection of waves from such "extreme mass ratio inspiral" systems (EMRIs) and extraction of information from those waves require template waveforms. The systems' extreme mass ratio means that their waveforms can be determined accurately using black hole perturbation theory. Such calculations are computationally very expensive. There is a pressing need for families of approximate waveforms that may be generated cheaply and quickly but which still capture the main features of true waveforms. In this paper, we introduce a family of such "kludge" waveforms and describe ways to generate them. We assess performance of the introduced approximations by comparing "kludge" waveforms to accurate waveforms obtained by solving the Teukolsky equation in the adiabatic limit (neglecting GW backreaction). We find that the kludge waveforms do extremely well at approximating the true gravitational waveform, having overlaps with the Teukolsky waveforms of 95% or higher over most of the parameter space for which comparisons can currently be made. Indeed, we find these kludges to be of such high quality (despite their ease of calculation) that it is possible they may play some role in the final search of LISA data for EMRIs.