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Gravitational Wave Polarizations: A Test of General Relativity Using Binary Black Hole Mergers


Mathur, Sudhi (2020) Gravitational Wave Polarizations: A Test of General Relativity Using Binary Black Hole Mergers. Senior thesis (Major), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/q9qa-7770.


General Relativity predicts that gravitational radiation is purely tensor polarized and thus, gravitational waves are composed of linear combinations of two transverse polarization modes, referred to as plus (+) and cross (×) tensor modes. However, alternate gravitational theories predict the existence of up to four additional vector and scalar longitudinal GW polarization modes.

In this thesis, we develop a test of the gravitational wave (GW) polarization prediction of general relativity by searching for small admixtures of vector and/or scalar polarization components in transient GWs from binary black hole mergers. We use a network of five non-co-oriented GW detectors available in the near future, Bayesian inference parameter estimation, and nested sampling to quantify the detection sensitivity for such non-tensor GW polarization components.

Item Type:Thesis (Senior thesis (Major))
Subject Keywords:Gravitational waves; general relativity; computational astrophysics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Weinstein, Alan Jay
Thesis Committee:
  • Libbrecht, Kenneth George (chair)
  • Alicea, Jason F.
  • Kimble, H. Jeff
  • Roukes, Michael Lee
  • Politzer, Hugh David
  • Frautschi, Steven C.
Defense Date:5 June 2020
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:08062020-222003579
Persistent URL:
Mathur, Sudhi0000-0003-4891-0567
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:13851
Deposited By: Sudhi Mathur
Deposited On:10 Aug 2020 19:56
Last Modified:08 Nov 2022 00:15

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