Systematic bias on the inspiral-merger-ringdown consistency test due to neglect of orbital eccentricity

Sajad A. Bhat, Pankaj Saini, Marc Favata, K. G. Arun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The inspiral-merger-ringdown (IMR) consistency test checks the consistency of the final mass and final spin of a binary black hole merger remnant, independently inferred via the inspiral and merger-ringdown parts of the waveform. As binaries are expected to be nearly circularized when entering the frequency band of ground-based detectors, tests of general relativity (GR) currently employ quasicircular waveforms. We quantify the effect of residual orbital eccentricity on the IMR consistency test. We find that eccentricity causes a significant systematic bias in the inferred final mass and spin of the remnant black hole at an orbital eccentricity (defined at 10 Hz) of e0 0.1 in the LIGO band (for a total binary mass in the range 65-200 M). For binary black holes observed by Cosmic Explorer (CE), the systematic bias becomes significant for e0 0.015 (for 200-600 M systems). This eccentricity-induced bias on the final mass and spin leads to an apparent inconsistency in the IMR consistency test, manifesting as a false violation of GR. Hence, eccentric corrections to waveform models are important for constructing a robust test of GR, especially for third-generation detectors. We also estimate the eccentric corrections to the relationship between the inspiral parameters and the final mass and final spin; they are shown to be quite small.

Original languageEnglish
Article number024009
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Jan 2023


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