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The Importance of Spin for Observing Gravitational Waves from Coalescing Compact Binaries with LIGO and Virgo


Privitera, Stephen M. (2014) The Importance of Spin for Observing Gravitational Waves from Coalescing Compact Binaries with LIGO and Virgo. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Q6KC-1957.


General Relativity predicts the existence of gravitational waves, which carry information about the physical and dynamical properties of their source. One of the many promising sources of gravitational waves observable by ground-based instruments, such as in LIGO and Virgo, is the coalescence of two compact objects (neutron star or black hole). Black holes and neutron stars sometimes form binaries with short orbital periods, radiating so strongly in gravitational waves that they coalesce on astrophysically short timescales. General Relativity gives precise predictions for the form of the signal emitted by these systems. The most recent searches for theses events used waveform models that neglected the effects of black hole and neutron star spin. However, real astrophysical compact objects, especially black holes, are expected to have large spins. We demonstrate here a data analysis infrastructure which achieves an improved sensitivity to spinning compact binaries by the inclusion of spin effects in the template waveforms. This infrastructure is designed for scalable, low-latency data analysis, ideal for rapid electromagnetic followup of gravitational wave events.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:gravitational waves, compact binary coalescence, gstlal, precession, spin, black holes, neutron stars
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:
  • Weinstein, Alan Jay (chair)
  • Ott, Christian D.
  • Prince, Thomas A.
  • Adhikari, Rana
Defense Date:16 May 2014
Other Numbering System:
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Additional Information:The work presented in this thesis was carried out within the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC). The methods and results presented here are under review and are potentially subject to change. The opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of the LSC. This work is assigned LIGO document number LIGO-P1400092.
Projects:LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC)
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05282014-160218103
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8413
Deposited By: Stephen Privitera
Deposited On:30 May 2014 20:29
Last Modified:26 Oct 2021 18:29

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