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Journal Article

Searching for the full symphony of black hole binary mergers


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


Nitz,  Alexander H.
Observational Relativity and Cosmology, AEI-Hannover, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Harry, I., Calderón Bustillo, J., & Nitz, A. H. (2018). Searching for the full symphony of black hole binary mergers. Physical Review D, 97: 023004. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.97.023004.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-635F-7
Current searches for the gravitational-wave signature of compact binary mergers rely on matched-filtering data from interferometric observatories with sets of modelled gravitational waveforms. These searches currently use model waveforms that do not include the higher-order mode content of the gravitational-wave signal. Higher-order modes are important for many compact binary mergers and their omission reduces the sensitivity to such sources. In this work we explore the sensitivity loss incurred from omitting higher-order modes. We present a new method for searching for compact binary mergers using waveforms that include higher-order mode effects, and evaluate the sensitivity increase that using our new method would allow. We find that, when evaluating sensitivity at a constant rate-of-false alarm, and when including the fact that signal-consistency tests can reject some signals that include higher-order mode content, we observe a sensitivity increase of up to a factor of 2 in volume for high mass ratio, high total-mass systems. Our new search method is also directly applicable in searches for generic compact binaries.