The gravitational-wave memory effect

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The nonlinear memory effect is a slowly growing, non-oscillatory contribution to the gravitational-wave amplitude. It originates from gravitational waves that are sourced by the previously emitted waves. In an ideal gravitational-wave interferometer a gravitational wave with memory causes a permanent displacement of the test masses that persists after the wave has passed. Surprisingly, the nonlinear memory affects the signal amplitude starting at leading (Newtonian-quadrupole) order. Despite this fact, the nonlinear memory is not easily extracted from current numerical relativity simulations. After reviewing the linear and nonlinear memory I summarize some recent work, including (1) computations of the memory contribution to the inspiral waveform amplitude (thus completing the waveform to third post-Newtonian order); (2) the first calculations of the nonlinear memory that include all phases of binary black hole coalescence (inspiral, merger, ringdown); and (3) realistic estimates of the detectability of the memory with LISA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number084036
JournalClassical and Quantum Gravity
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2010


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