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Journal Article

Searching for Gravitational Waves from Compact Binaries with Precessing Spins

MPS-Authors
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Harry,  Ian
Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Privitera,  Stephen
Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Bohé,  Alejandro
Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Buonanno,  Alessandra
Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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1603.02444.pdf
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Citation

Harry, I., Privitera, S., Bohé, A., & Buonanno, A. (2016). Searching for Gravitational Waves from Compact Binaries with Precessing Spins. Physical Review D, 94: 024012. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.94.024012.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-1837-F
Abstract
Current searches for gravitational waves from compact-object binaries with the LIGO and Virgo observatories employ waveform models with spins aligned (or anti-aligned) with the orbital angular momentum. Here, we derive a new statistic to search for compact objects carrying generic (precessing) spins. Applying this statistic, we construct banks of both aligned- and generic-spin templates for binary black holes and neutron-star--black-hole binaries, and compare the effectualness of these banks towards simulated populations of generic-spin systems. We then use these banks in a pipeline analysis of Gaussian noise to measure the increase in background incurred by using generic- instead of aligned-spin banks. Although the generic-spin banks have a factor of ten to twenty more templates than the aligned-spin banks, we find an overall improvement in signal recovery at fixed false-alarm rate for systems with high-mass ratio and highly precessing spins ---up to 60\% for neutron-star--black-hole mergers. This gain in sensitivity comes at a small loss of sensitivity ($\lesssim$4\%) for systems that are already well-covered by aligned-spin templates. Since the observation of even a single binary merger with misalinged spins could provide unique astrophysical insights into the formation of these sources, we recommend that the method described here be developed further to mount a viable search for generic-spin binary mergers in LIGO/Virgo data.