LIGO Document P2000136-v3

Measuring gravitational-wave subdominant multipoles

Document #:
LIGO-P2000136-v3
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P - Publications
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Abstract:
We investigate the observability of higher harmonics in gravitational wave signals emitted during the coalescence of binary black holes.
We decompose each mode into an overall amplitude, dependent upon the masses and spins of the system, and an
orientation-dependent term, dependent upon the inclination and polarization of the source. Using this decomposition, we investigate
the significance of higher modes over the parameter space and show that the 33 mode is most significant across much of the sensitive
band of ground-based interferometric detectors, with the 44 having a significant contribution at high masses. Next, we introduce the
signal-to-noise ratio in each higher mode as, e.g. \( \rho_{33} \), and argue that an observed higher mode SNR \( > 2.1 \) is unlikely to
occur due to noise alone.
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