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Investigating the effect of precession on searches for neutron-star-black-hole binaries with Advanced LIGO

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

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Lundgren,  A.
Observational Relativity and Cosmology, AEI-Hannover, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Keppel,  D.
Observational Relativity and Cosmology, AEI-Hannover, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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1307.3562.pdf
(Preprint), 3MB

PRD89_024010.pdf
(Any fulltext), 3MB

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Citation

Harry, I., Nitz, A. H., Brown, D. A., Lundgren, A., Ochsner, E., & Keppel, D. (2014). Investigating the effect of precession on searches for neutron-star-black-hole binaries with Advanced LIGO. Physical Review D, 89: 024010. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.89.024010.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-02DC-1
Abstract
The first direct detection of neutron-star-black-hole binaries will likely be made with gravitational-wave observatories. Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo will be able to observe neutron-star-black-hole mergers at a maximum distance of 900Mpc. To acheive this sensitivity, gravitational-wave searches will rely on using a bank of filter waveforms that accurately model the expected gravitational-wave signal. The angular momentum of the black hole is expected to be comparable to the orbital angular momentum. This angular momentum will affect the dynamics of the inspiralling system and alter the phase evolution of the emitted gravitational-wave signal. In addition, if the black hole's angular momentum is not aligned with the orbital angular momentum it will cause the orbital plane of the system to precess. In this work we demonstrate that if the effect of the black hole's angular momentum is neglected in the waveform models used in gravitational-wave searches, the detection rate of $(10+1.4)M_{\odot}$ neutron-star--black-hole systems would be reduced by $33 - 37%$. The error in this measurement is due to uncertainty in the Post-Newtonian approximations that are used to model the gravitational-wave signal of neutron-star-black-hole inspiralling binaries. We describe a new method for creating a bank of filter waveforms where the black hole has non-zero angular momentum, but is aligned with the orbital angular momentum. With this bank we find that the detection rate of $(10+1.4)M_{\odot}$ neutron-star-black-hole systems would be reduced by $26-33%$. Systems that will not be detected are ones where the precession of the orbital plane causes the gravitational-wave signal to match poorly with non-precessing filter waveforms. We identify the regions of parameter space where such systems occur and suggest methods for searching for highly precessing neutron-star-black-hole binaries.