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Gravitational Wave Signatures of Black Hole Physics


Mark, Zachary R. (2021) Gravitational Wave Signatures of Black Hole Physics. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/kh82-1q43.


Gravitational wave observations are opening the door to test general relativity in regimes far less common than the weak gravitational fields that we experience in the solar system. The first part of this thesis addresses the broad issue of how different exotic predictions of general relativity imprint themselves in gravitational waves.

The ringdown portion of a binary black hole merger is dominated by superposition of quasinormal modes, the resonant modes of a perturbed black hole. The quasinormal mode spectrum of a perturbed black hole mostly reflects the spacetime geometry near the photon orbits. Chapter 2 of this thesis develops a new method for calculating quasinormal mode frequencies for weakly charged, rotating black holes. Chapter 3 uses a variety of analytic approximations to calculate the charged, rotating quasinormal mode frequencies in other cases, including nearly extremal black holes.

The event horizon is one of the most unique predictions of general relativity and it unsurprisingly does not imprint itself in gravitational wave emission. However, alternatives to black holes known as exotic compact objects do leave a unique signature in the form of echoes following the initial signal. Chapter 4 develops a formalism to understand and calculate these echoes.

The second part of this thesis focuses on reducing the noise in gravitational wave measurements using neural networks. Chapter 5 demonstrates on mock data how simple neural networks can use auxiliary measurements from the detector to predict unmodeled noise which can be subtracted offline.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Black Holes, Gravitational Waves
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Chen, Yanbei
Thesis Committee:
  • Adhikari, Rana (chair)
  • Chen, Yanbei
  • Teukolsky, Saul A.
  • Abu-Mostafa, Yaser S.
Defense Date:29 March 2021
Non-Caltech Author Email:zmarkgrel (AT)
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:06072021-070015547
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription adapted for chapter 2 contains further background for chapters 2 and 3 adapted for chapter 3 adapted for chapter 4
Mark, Zachary R.0000-0003-2300-893X
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14251
Deposited By: Zachary Mark
Deposited On:31 Aug 2021 16:10
Last Modified:18 Jan 2022 17:28

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