Gravitational-wave memory revisited: Memory from the merger and recoil of binary black holes

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Gravitational-wave memory refers to the permanent displacement of the test masses in an idealized (freely-falling) gravitational-wave interferometer. Inspiraling binaries produce a particularly interesting form of memory - the Christodoulou memory. Although it originates from nonlinear interactions at 2.5 post-Newtonian order, the Christodoulou memory affects the gravitational-wave amplitude at leading (Newtonian) order. Previous calculations have computed this non-oscillatory amplitude correction during the inspiral phase of binary coalescence. Using an "effective-one-body" description calibrated with the results of numerical relativity simulations, the evolution of the memory during the inspiral, merger, and ringdown phases, as well as the memory's final saturation value, are calculated. Using this model for the memory, the prospects for its detection are examined, particularly for supermassive black hole binary coalescences that LISA will detect with high signal-to-noise ratios. Coalescing binary black holes also experience center-of-mass recoil due to the anisotropic emission of gravitational radiation. These recoils can manifest themselves in the gravitational-wave signal in the form of a "linear" memory and a Doppler shift of the quasi-normal-mode frequencies. The prospects for observing these effects are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012043
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
StatePublished - 2009


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