Gravitational waves from Intermediate Mass Binary Black Holes: First steps toward using Numerical Relativity waveforms for LIGO data analysis

Open Access
Vaishnav, Birjoo
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
April 01, 2008
Committee Members:
  • Deirdre Shoemaker, Committee Chair
  • Benjamin Owen, Committee Member
  • Pablo Laguna, Committee Member
  • Richard Alan Wade, Committee Member
  • black holes
  • gravitational waves
  • numerical relativity
  • LIGO
  • data analysis
  • gravitational wave astronomy
The need for providing accurate and reliable templates for detecting gravitational waves from the LIGO and LISA gravity wave detectors has fueled the numerical relativity effort toward solving the binary black hole problem. The waveforms from these simulations are vital in extending the mass reach of the ground based detectors to include the intermediate mass black hole binaries. The aim of this thesis is to study some aspects of how the merger waveforms from a variety of initial configurations look under the eyepiece of data analysis. We study waveforms from equal mass binary black holes which are initially non-spinning, spinning without precession and spinning with precession in quasi-circular orbits. The mode content for these waveforms is found to behave within the expectation set by the post-newtonian theory. Also studied are waveforms from a number of initially non-spinning, equal mass binaries in eccentric orbits. One of the results of the thesis investigation is that for intermediate mass black hole binaries a quasi-circular non-spinning template may be effective in capturing low and moderate eccentricity waveforms. This analysis can be useful in guiding the set up of a detection template bank for observing mergers of intermediate mass binary black holes with ground based detectors.