Nonlinear gravitational-wave memory from binary black hole mergers

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Abstract

Some astrophysical sources of gravitational waves can produce a "memory effect," which causes a permanent displacement of the test masses in a freely falling gravitational-wave detector. The Christodoulou memory is a particularly interesting nonlinear form of memory that arises from the gravitational-wave stress-energy tensor's contribution to the distant gravitational-wave field. This nonlinear memory contributes a nonoscillatory component to the gravitational-wave signal at leading (Newtonian-quadrupole) order in the waveform amplitude. Previous computations of the memory and its detectability considered only the inspiral phase of binary black hole coalescence. Using an "effective-one-body" (EOB) approach calibrated to numerical relativity simulations, as well as a simple fully analytic model, the Christodoulou memory is computed for the inspiral, merger, and ringdown. The memory will be very difficult to detect with ground-based interferometers, but is likely to be observable in supermassive black hole mergers with LISA out to redshifts z ≲ 2. Detection of the nonlinear memory could serve as an experimental test of the ability of gravity to "gravitate."

Original languageEnglish
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume696
Issue number2 PART 2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009

Fingerprint

nonlinear wave
gravitational waves
merger
LISA (observatory)
wave field
coalescence
interferometer
falling
coalescing
relativity
astrophysics
waveforms
interferometers
quadrupoles
tensors
gravity
gravitation
causes
detectors

Keywords

  • Black hole physics
  • Gravitation
  • Gravitational waves
  • Relativity

Cite this

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abstract = "Some astrophysical sources of gravitational waves can produce a {"}memory effect,{"} which causes a permanent displacement of the test masses in a freely falling gravitational-wave detector. The Christodoulou memory is a particularly interesting nonlinear form of memory that arises from the gravitational-wave stress-energy tensor's contribution to the distant gravitational-wave field. This nonlinear memory contributes a nonoscillatory component to the gravitational-wave signal at leading (Newtonian-quadrupole) order in the waveform amplitude. Previous computations of the memory and its detectability considered only the inspiral phase of binary black hole coalescence. Using an {"}effective-one-body{"} (EOB) approach calibrated to numerical relativity simulations, as well as a simple fully analytic model, the Christodoulou memory is computed for the inspiral, merger, and ringdown. The memory will be very difficult to detect with ground-based interferometers, but is likely to be observable in supermassive black hole mergers with LISA out to redshifts z ≲ 2. Detection of the nonlinear memory could serve as an experimental test of the ability of gravity to {"}gravitate.{"}",
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Nonlinear gravitational-wave memory from binary black hole mergers. / Favata, Marc.

In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 696, No. 2 PART 2, 01.01.2009.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AU - Favata, Marc

PY - 2009/1/1

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N2 - Some astrophysical sources of gravitational waves can produce a "memory effect," which causes a permanent displacement of the test masses in a freely falling gravitational-wave detector. The Christodoulou memory is a particularly interesting nonlinear form of memory that arises from the gravitational-wave stress-energy tensor's contribution to the distant gravitational-wave field. This nonlinear memory contributes a nonoscillatory component to the gravitational-wave signal at leading (Newtonian-quadrupole) order in the waveform amplitude. Previous computations of the memory and its detectability considered only the inspiral phase of binary black hole coalescence. Using an "effective-one-body" (EOB) approach calibrated to numerical relativity simulations, as well as a simple fully analytic model, the Christodoulou memory is computed for the inspiral, merger, and ringdown. The memory will be very difficult to detect with ground-based interferometers, but is likely to be observable in supermassive black hole mergers with LISA out to redshifts z ≲ 2. Detection of the nonlinear memory could serve as an experimental test of the ability of gravity to "gravitate."

AB - Some astrophysical sources of gravitational waves can produce a "memory effect," which causes a permanent displacement of the test masses in a freely falling gravitational-wave detector. The Christodoulou memory is a particularly interesting nonlinear form of memory that arises from the gravitational-wave stress-energy tensor's contribution to the distant gravitational-wave field. This nonlinear memory contributes a nonoscillatory component to the gravitational-wave signal at leading (Newtonian-quadrupole) order in the waveform amplitude. Previous computations of the memory and its detectability considered only the inspiral phase of binary black hole coalescence. Using an "effective-one-body" (EOB) approach calibrated to numerical relativity simulations, as well as a simple fully analytic model, the Christodoulou memory is computed for the inspiral, merger, and ringdown. The memory will be very difficult to detect with ground-based interferometers, but is likely to be observable in supermassive black hole mergers with LISA out to redshifts z ≲ 2. Detection of the nonlinear memory could serve as an experimental test of the ability of gravity to "gravitate."

KW - Black hole physics

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