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Accurate Gravitational Waveforms from Binary Black-hole Systems


Boyle, Michael (2009) Accurate Gravitational Waveforms from Binary Black-hole Systems. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/7NSM-RW43.


We examine various topics involved in the creation of accurate theoretical gravitational waveforms from binary black-hole systems.

In Chapter 2 a pseudospectral numerical code is applied to a set of analytic or near-analytic solutions to Einstein's equations which comprise a testbed for numerical-relativity codes. We then discuss methods for extracting gravitational-wave data from numerical simulations of black-hole binary systems, and introduce a practical technique for obtaining the asymptotic form of that data from finite simulation domains in Chapter 3. A formula is also developed to estimate the size of near-field effects from a compact binary. In Chapter 4 the extrapolated data is then compared to post-Newtonian (PN) approximations. We compare the phase and amplitude of the numerical waveform to a collection of Taylor approximants, cross-validating the numerical and PN waveforms, and investigating the regime of validity of the PN waveforms. Chapter 5 extends that comparison to include Padé and effective-one-body models, and investigates components of the PN models. In each case, a careful accounting is made of errors. Finally, we construct a long post-Newtonian–numerical hybrid waveform and evaluate the performance of LIGO's current data-analysis methods with it. We suggest certain optimizations of those methods, including extending the range of template mass ratios to unphysical ranges for certain values of the total mass, and a simple analytic cutoff frequency for the templates which results in nearly optimal matches for both Initial and Advanced LIGO.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:gravitational waves; numerical relativity; pseudospectral methods
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Lindblom, Lee A. (advisor)
  • Thorne, Kip S. (co-advisor)
Group:Astronomy Department
Thesis Committee:
  • Lindblom, Lee A. (chair)
  • Weinstein, Alan Jay
  • Thorne, Kip S.
  • Chen, Yanbei
Defense Date:20 October 2008
Non-Caltech Author Email:michael.oliver.boyle (AT)
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-01122009-143851
Persistent URL:
Boyle, Michael0000-0002-5075-5116
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:143
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:06 Feb 2009
Last Modified:10 Mar 2020 23:39

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