Gravitational-wave astronomy with coalescing compact binaries: detection and parameter estimation with advanced detectors

Smith, Rory James Edwin (2013). Gravitational-wave astronomy with coalescing compact binaries: detection and parameter estimation with advanced detectors. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The current generation of interferometric gravitational-wave detectors, LIGO and Virgo, are undergoing upgrade to their so-called advanced phase. These instruments, together with new instruments in Japan and India, KAGRA and LIGO India, will form a network of advanced gravitational-wave detectors with which detections are expected to become routine. Amongst the prime sources for gravitational- wave astronomy are coalescing compact binaries consisting of neutron stars and/or black holes. Filtering detector data to detect these sources relies on precise templates of the expected gravitational-wave signals. In addition, estimating the parameters encoded in the signals (masses, spins etc...) requires sophisticated Bayesian inference techniques. Templates are typically computationally expensive to generate and can be a bottle-neck in data analysis.

Here we focus on two aspects of gravitational-wave astronomy using coalescing compact binaries. The first part of this thesis focuses on studying the requirements of template waveforms to detect intermediate-mass black holes through the coalescence of a stellar- mass companion into an intermediate-mass black hole in Advanced LIGO. The second part of this thesis focuses on numerical and analytic techniques to improve the efficiency of (Bayesian) parameter estimation on coalescing binaries when parameter estimation is dominated by template waveform generation. Such efficiency improvements to parameter estimation are crucial for gravitational-wave astronomy using advanced detectors.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
School/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
Department: School of Physics and Astronomy
Funders: Other, Science and Technology Facilities Council
Other Funders: Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics


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