** "Spectroscopic analysis of stellar mass black-hole mergers in our local universe with ground-based gravitational wave detectors".** Phys. Rev. D 94, 084024 (2016)
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**Abstract:**Motivated by the recent discoveries of binary black-hole mergers by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (Advanced LIGO), we investigate the prospects of ground-based detectors to perform a spectroscopic analysis of signals emitted during the ringdown of the final Kerr black-hole formed by a stellar mass binary black-hole merger. Although it is unlikely that Advanced LIGO can measure multiple modes of the ringdown, assuming an optimistic rate of 240 Gpc −3 yr −1 , upgrades to the existing LIGO detectors could measure multiple ringdown modes in ∼ 6 detections per year. New ground-based facilities such as Einstein Telescope or Cosmic Explorer could measure multiple ringdown modes in over 300 events per year. We perform Monte-Carlo injections of 10 6 binary black-hole mergers in a search volume defined by a sphere of radius 1500 Mpc centered at the detector, for various proposed ground-based detector models. We assume a uniform random distribution in component masses of the progenitor binaries, sky positions and orientations to investigate the fraction of the population that satisfy our criteria for detectability and resolvability of multiple ringdown modes. We investigate the detectability and resolvability of the sub-dominant modes l=m=3 , l=m=4 and l=2,m=1 . Our results indicate that the modes with l=m=3 and l=2,m=1 are the most promising candidates for sub-dominant mode measurability. We find that for stellar mass black-hole mergers, resolvability is not a limiting criteria for these modes. We emphasize that the measurability of the l=2,m=1 mode is not impeded by the resolvability criterion. To optimize the senstivity of a detector for ringdown signals, sensitivity should be tuned to the 300 to 500 Hz region.

** "Upper limits on the rates of binary neutron star and neutron-star--black-hole mergers from Advanced LIGO's first observing run".** Astrophys J 832 L21 (2016)
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**Abstract:**We report here the non-detection of gravitational waves from the merger of binary neutron star systems and neutron-star--black-hole systems during the first observing run of Advanced LIGO. In particular we searched for gravitational wave signals from binary neutron star systems with component masses ∈[1,3]M ⊙ and component dimensionless spins <0.05 . We also searched for neutron-star--black-hole systems with the same neutron star parameters, black hole mass ∈[2,99]M ⊙ and no restriction on the black hole spin magnitude. We assess the sensitivity of the two LIGO detectors to these systems, and find that they could have detected the merger of binary neutron star systems with component mass distributions of 1.35±0.13M ⊙ at a volume-weighted average distance of ∼ 70Mpc, and for neutron-star--black-hole systems with neutron star masses of 1.4M ⊙ and black hole masses of at least 5M ⊙ , a volume-weighted average distance of at least ∼ 110Mpc. From this we constrain with 90% confidence the merger rate to be less than 12,600 Gpc −3 yr −1 for binary-neutron star systems and less than 3,600 Gpc −3 yr −1 for neutron-star--black-hole systems. We find that if no detection of neutron-star binary mergers is made in the next two Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo observing runs we would place significant constraints on the merger rates. Finally, assuming a rate of 10 +20 −7 Gpc −3 yr −1 short gamma ray bursts beamed towards the Earth and assuming that all short gamma-ray bursts have binary-neutron-star (neutron-star--black-hole) progenitors we can use our 90% confidence rate upper limits to constrain the beaming angle of the gamma-ray burst to be greater than 2.3 +1.7 −1.1 ∘ (4.3 +3.1 −1.9 ∘ ).

** "The PyCBC search for gravitational waves from compact binary coalescence".** Class Quant Grav 33 215004 (2016)
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**Abstract:**We describe the PyCBC search for gravitational waves from compact-object binary coalescences in advanced gravitational-wave detector data. The search was used in the first Advanced LIGO observing run and unambiguously identified two black hole binary mergers, GW150914 and GW151226. At its core, the PyCBC search performs a matched-filter search for binary merger signals using a bank of gravitational-wave template waveforms. We provide a complete description of the search pipeline including the steps used to mitigate the effects of noise transients in the data, identify candidate events and measure their statistical significance. The analysis is able to measure false-alarm rates as low as one per million years, required for confident detection of signals. Using data from initial LIGO's sixth science run, we show that the new analysis reduces the background noise in the search, giving a 30% increase in sensitive volume for binary neutron star systems over previous searches.

** "The basic physics of the binary black hole merger GW150914".** To appear in Annalen der Physik
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**Abstract:**The first direct gravitational-wave detection was made by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory on September 14, 2015. The GW150914 signal was strong enough to be apparent, without using any waveform model, in the filtered detector strain data. Here, features of the signal visible in the data are analyzed using concepts from Newtonian physics and general relativity, accessible to anyone with a general physics background. The simple analysis presented here is consistent with the fully general-relativistic analyses published elsewhere,in showing that the signal was produced by the inspiral and subsequent merger of two black holes. The black holes were each of approximately 35 Msun, still orbited each other as close as ~350 km apart, and subsequently merged to form a single black hole. Similar reasoning, directly from the data, is used to roughly estimate how far these black holes were from the Earth, and the energy that they radiated in gravitational waves.

** "Binary Black Hole Mergers in the first Advanced LIGO Observing Run".** Phys. Rev. X 6, 041015 (2016)
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**Abstract:**The first observational run of the Advanced LIGO detectors, from September 12, 2015 to January 19, 2016, saw the first detections of gravitational waves from binary black hole mergers. In this paper we present full results from a search for binary black hole merger signals with total masses up to 100M ⊙ and detailed implications from our observations of these systems. Our search, based on general-relativistic models of gravitational wave signals from binary black hole systems, unambiguously identified two signals, GW150914 and GW151226, with a significance of greater than 5σ over the observing period. It also identified a third possible signal, LVT151012, with substantially lower significance, and with an 87% probability of being of astrophysical origin. We provide detailed estimates of the parameters of the observed systems. Both GW150914 and GW151226 provide an unprecedented opportunity to study the two-body motion of a compact-object binary in the large velocity, highly nonlinear regime. We do not observe any deviations from general relativity, and place improved empirical bounds on several high-order post-Newtonian coefficients. From our observations we infer stellar-mass binary black hole merger rates lying in the range 9−240Gpc −3 yr −1 . These observations are beginning to inform astrophysical predictions of binary black hole formation rates, and indicate that future observing runs of the Advanced detector network will yield many more gravitational wave detections.

** "Directly comparing GW150914 with numerical solutions of Einstein's equations for binary black hole coalescence".** Phys. Rev. D 94, 064035 (2016)
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**Abstract:**We compare GW150914 directly to simulations of coalescing binary black holes in full general relativity, accounting for all the spin-weighted quadrupolar modes, and separately accounting for all the quadrupolar and octopolar modes. Consistent with the posterior distributions reported in LVC_PE[1] (at 90% confidence), we find the data are compatible with a wide range of nonprecessing and precessing simulations. Followup simulations performed using previously-estimated binary parameters most resemble the data. Comparisons including only the quadrupolar modes constrain the total redshifted mass Mz \in [64 - 82M_\odot], mass ratio q = m2/m1 \in [0.6,1], and effective aligned spin \chi_eff \in [-0.3, 0.2], where \chi_{eff} = (S1/m1 + S2/m2) \cdot\hat{L} /M. Including both quadrupolar and octopolar modes, we find the mass ratio is even more tightly constrained. Simulations with extreme mass ratios and effective spins are highly inconsistent with the data, at any mass. Several nonprecessing and precessing simulations with similar mass ratio and \chi_{eff} are consistent with the data. Though correlated, the components' spins (both in magnitude and directions) are not significantly constrained by the data. For nonprecessing binaries, interpolating between simulations, we reconstruct a posterior distribution consistent with previous results. The final black hole's redshifted mass is consistent with Mf,z between 64.0 - 73.5M_\odot and the final black hole's dimensionless spin parameter is consistent with af = 0.62 - 0.73. As our approach invokes no intermediate approximations to general relativity and can strongly reject binaries whose radiation is inconsistent with the data, our analysis provides a valuable complement to LVC_PE[1].

** "The Rate of Binary Black Hole Mergers Inferred from Advanced LIGO Observations Surrounding GW150914".** ApJL, 833, 1, 2016; for supplement see ApJS, 227, 14, 2016, arXiv:1606.03939
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**Abstract:**A transient gravitational-wave signal, GW150914, was identified in the twin Advanced LIGO detectors on September 14, 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC. To assess the implications of this discovery, the detectors remained in operation with unchanged configurations over a period of 39 d around the time of the signal. At the detection statistic threshold corresponding to that observed for GW150914, our search of the 16 days of simultaneous two-detector observational data is estimated to have a false alarm rate (FAR) of <4.9×10 −6 yr −1 , yielding a p -value for GW150914 of <2×10 −7 . Parameter estimation followup on this trigger identifies its source as a binary black hole (BBH) merger with component masses (m 1 ,m 2 )=(36 +5 −4 ,29 +4 −4 )M ⊙ at redshift z=0.09 +0.03 −0.04 (median and 90\% credible range). Here we report on the constraints these observations place on the rate of BBH coalescences. Considering only GW150914, assuming that all BBHs in the Universe have the same masses and spins as this event, imposing a search FAR threshold of 1 per 100 years, and assuming that the BBH merger rate is constant in the comoving frame, we infer a 90% credible range of merger rates between 2 --53Gpc −3 yr −1 (comoving frame). Incorporating all search triggers that pass a much lower threshold while accounting for the uncertainty in the astrophysical origin of each trigger, we estimate a higher rate, ranging from 13 --600Gpc −3 yr −1 depending on assumptions about the BBH mass distribution. All together, our various rate estimates fall in the conservative range 2 --600Gpc −3 yr −1 .

** "An improved analysis of GW150914 using a fully spin-precessing waveform model".** Phys. Rev. X 6, 041014 (2016)
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**Abstract:**This paper presents updated estimates of source parameters for GW150914, a binary black-hole coalescence event detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) on September 14, 2015 [1]. Reference presented parameter estimation [2] of the source using a 13-dimensional, phenomenological precessing-spin model (precessing IMRPhenom) and a 11-dimensional nonprecessing effective-one-body (EOB) model calibrated to numerical-relativity simulations, which forces spin alignment (nonprecessing EOBNR). Here we present new results that include a 15-dimensional precessing-spin waveform model (precessing EOBNR) developed within the EOB formalism. We find good agreement with the parameters estimated previously [2], and we quote updated component masses of 35 +5 −3 M ⊙ and 30 +3 −4 M ⊙ (where errors correspond to 90% symmetric credible intervals). We also present slightly tighter constraints on the dimensionless spin magnitudes of the two black holes, with a primary spin estimate 0.65 and a secondary spin estimate 0.75 at 90% probability. Reference [2] estimated the systematic parameter-extraction errors due to waveform-model uncertainty by combining the posterior probability densities of precessing IMRPhenom and nonprecessing EOBNR. Here we find that the two precessing-spin models are in closer agreement, suggesting that these systematic errors are smaller than previously quoted.

** "GW151226: Observation of Gravitational Waves from a 22-Solar-Mass Binary Black Hole Coalescence".** Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 241103 (2016)
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**Abstract:**We report the observation of a gravitational-wave signal produced by the coalescence of two stellar-mass black holes. The signal, GW151226, was observed by the twin detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) on December 26, 2015 at 03:38:53 UTC. The signal was initially identified within 70 s by an online matched-filter search targeting binary coalescences. Subsequent off-line analyses recovered GW151226 with a network signal-to-noise ratio of 13 and a significance greater than 5 σ . The signal persisted in the LIGO frequency band for approximately 1 s, increasing in frequency and amplitude over about 55 cycles from 35 to 450 Hz, and reached a peak gravitational strain of 3.4 +0.7 −0.9 ×10 −22 . The inferred source-frame initial black hole masses are 14.2 +8.3 −3.7 M ⊙ and 7.5 +2.3 −2.3 M ⊙ and the final black hole mass is 20.8 +6.1 −1.7 M ⊙ . We find that at least one of the component black holes has spin greater than 0.2. This source is located at a luminosity distance of 440 +180 −190 Mpc corresponding to a redshift 0.09 +0.03 −0.04 . All uncertainties define a 90 % credible interval. This second gravitational-wave observation provides improved constraints on stellar populations and on deviations from general relativity.

** "A DECam Search for an Optical Counterpart to the LIGO Gravitational Wave Event GW151226".** Astrophys J 826 L29 (2016)
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**Abstract:**We report the results of a Dark Energy Camera (DECam) optical follow-up of the gravitational wave (GW) event GW151226, discovered by the Advanced LIGO detectors. Our observations cover 28.8 deg 2 of the localization region in the i and z bands (containing 3% of the BAYESTAR localization probability), starting 10 hours after the event was announced and spanning four epochs at 2−24 days after the GW detection. We achieve 5σ point-source limiting magnitudes of i≈21.7 and z≈21.5 , with a scatter of 0.4 mag, in our difference images. Given the two day delay, we search this area for a rapidly declining optical counterpart with ≳3σ significance steady decline between the first and final observations. We recover four sources that pass our selection criteria, of which three are cataloged AGN. The fourth source is offset by 5.8 arcsec from the center of a galaxy at a distance of 187 Mpc, exhibits a rapid decline by 0.5 mag over 4 days, and has a red color of i−z≈0.3 mag. These properties roughly match the expectations for a kilonova. However, this source was detected several times, starting 94 days prior to GW151226, in the Pan-STARRS Survey for Transients (dubbed as PS15cdi) and is therefore unrelated to the GW event. Given its long-term behavior, PS15cdi is likely a Type IIP supernova that transitioned out of its plateau phase during our observations, mimicking a kilonova-like behavior. We comment on the implications of this detection for contamination in future optical follow-up observations.

** "Localization and broadband follow-up of the gravitational-wave transient GW150914".** Astrophys J 826 L13 (2016)
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**Abstract:**A gravitational-wave (GW) transient was identified in data recorded by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors on 2015 September 14. The event, initially designated G184098 and later given the name GW150914, is described in detail elsewhere. By prior arrangement, preliminary estimates of the time, significance, and sky location of the event were shared with 63 teams of observers covering radio, optical, near-infrared, X-ray, and gamma-ray wavelengths with ground- and space-based facilities. In this Letter we describe the low-latency analysis of the GW data and present the sky localization of the first observed compact binary merger. We summarize the follow-up observations reported by 25 teams via private Gamma-ray Coordinates Network circulars, giving an overview of the participating facilities, the GW sky localization coverage, the timeline and depth of the observations. As this event turned out to be a binary black hole merger, there is little expectation of a detectable electromagnetic (EM) signature. Nevertheless, this first broadband campaign to search for a counterpart of an Advanced LIGO source represents a milestone and highlights the broad capabilities of the transient astronomy community and the observing strategies that have been developed to pursue neutron star binary merger events. Detailed investigations of the EM data and results of the EM follow-up campaign are being disseminated in papers by the individual teams.

** "Supplement: Localization and broadband follow-up of the gravitational-wave transient GW150914".** Astrophys J Suppl 225 8 (2016)
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**Abstract:**This Supplement provides supporting material for arXiv:1602.08492 . We briefly summarize past electromagnetic (EM) follow-up efforts as well as the organization and policy of the current EM follow-up program. We compare the four probability sky maps produced for the gravitational-wave transient GW150914, and provide additional details of the EM follow-up observations that were performed in the different bands.

** "A Dark Energy Camera Search for an Optical Counterpart to the First Advanced LIGO Gravitational Wave Event GW150914".** Astrophys J 823 L33
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**Abstract:**We report initial results of a deep search for an optical counterpart to the gravitational wave event GW150914, the first trigger from the Advanced LIGO gravitational wave detectors. We used the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) to image a 102 deg 2 area, corresponding to 38% of the initial trigger high-probability sky region and to 11% of the revised high-probability region. We observed in i and z bands at 4-5, 7, and 24 days after the trigger. The median 5σ point-source limiting magnitudes of our search images are i=22.5 and z=21.8 mag. We processed the images through a difference-imaging pipeline using templates from pre-existing Dark Energy Survey data and publicly available DECam data. Due to missing template observations and other losses, our effective search area subtends 40 deg 2 , corresponding to 12% total probability in the initial map and 3% of the final map. In this area, we search for objects that decline significantly between days 4-5 and day 7, and are undetectable by day 24, finding none to typical magnitude limits of i= 21.5,21.1,20.1 for object colors (i-z)=1,0,-1, respectively. Our search demonstrates the feasibility of a dedicated search program with DECam and bodes well for future research in this emerging field.

** "Tests of general relativity with GW150914".** Phys Rev Lett 116 221101 (2016)
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**Abstract:**The LIGO detection of GW150914 provides an unprecedented opportunity to study the two-body motion of a compact-object binary in the large velocity, highly nonlinear regime, and to witness the final merger of the binary and the excitation of uniquely relativistic modes of the gravitational field. We carry out several investigations to determine whether GW150914 is consistent with a binary black-hole merger in general relativity. We find that the final remnant's mass and spin, as determined from the low-frequency (inspiral) and high-frequency (post-inspiral) phases of the signal, are mutually consistent with the binary black-hole solution in general relativity. Furthermore, the data following the peak of GW150914 are consistent with the least-damped quasi-normal mode inferred from the mass and spin of the remnant black hole. By using waveform models that allow for parameterized general-relativity violations during the inspiral and merger phases, we perform quantitative tests on the gravitational-wave phase in the dynamical regime and we determine the first empirical bounds on several high-order post-Newtonian coefficients. We constrain the graviton Compton wavelength, assuming that gravitons are dispersed in vacuum in the same way as particles with mass, obtaining a 90% -confidence lower bound of 10 13 km. In conclusion, within our statistical uncertainties, we find no evidence for violations of general relativity in the genuinely strong-field regime of gravity.

** "Characterization of transient noise in Advanced LIGO relevant to gravitational wave signal GW150914".** Class Quant Grav 33 134001 (2016)
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**Abstract:**On September 14, 2015, a gravitational wave signal from a coalescing black hole binary system was observed by the Advanced LIGO detectors. This paper describes the transient noise backgrounds used to determine the significance of the event (designated GW150914) and presents the results of investigations into potential correlated or uncorrelated sources of transient noise in the detectors around the time of the event. The detectors were operating nominally at the time of GW150914. We have ruled out environmental influences and non-Gaussian instrument noise at either LIGO detector as the cause of the observed gravitational wave signal.

** "Observing gravitational-wave transient GW150914 with minimal assumptions".** Phys Rev D93 122004 (2016)
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**Abstract:**The gravitational-wave signal GW150914 was first identified on Sept 14 2015 by searches for short-duration gravitational-wave transients. These searches identify time-correlated transients in multiple detectors with minimal assumptions aboutthe signal morphology, allowing them to be sensitive to gravitational waves emitted by a wide range of sources including binary black-hole mergers. Over the observational period from September 12th to October 20th 2015, these transient searches were sensitive to binary black-hole mergers similar to GW150914 to an average distance of ∼600 Mpc. In this paper, we describe the analyses that first detected GW150914 as well as the parameter estimation and waveform reconstruction techniques that initially identified GW150914 as the merger of two black holes. We find that the reconstructed waveform is consistent with the signal from a binary black-hole merger with a chirp mass of ∼30M ⊙ and a total mass before merger of ∼70M ⊙ in the detector frame.

** "Properties of the Binary Black Hole Merger GW150914".** Phys Rev Lett 116 241102 (2016)
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**Abstract:**On September 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detected a gravitational-wave transient (GW150914); we characterize the properties of the source and its parameters. The data around the time of the event were analyzed coherently across the LIGO network using a suite of accurate waveform models that describe gravitational waves from a compact binary system in general relativity. GW150914 was produced by a nearly equal mass binary black hole of 36 +5 −4 M ⊙ and 29 +4 −4 M ⊙ ; for each parameter we report the median value and the range of the 90% credible interval. The dimensionless spin magnitude of the more massive black hole is bound to be <0.7 (at 90% probability). The luminosity distance to the source is 410 +160 −180 Mpc, corresponding to a redshift 0.09 +0.03 −0.04 assuming standard cosmology. The source location is constrained to an annulus section of 610 deg 2 , primarily in the southern hemisphere. The binary merges into a black hole of 62 +4 −4 M ⊙ and spin 0.67 +0.05 −0.07 . This black hole is significantly more massive than any other inferred from electromagnetic observations in the stellar-mass regime.

** "GW150914: First results from the search for binary black hole coalescence with Advanced LIGO".** Phys Rev D93 122003 (2016)
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**Abstract:**On September 14, 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) simultaneously observed the binary black hole merger GW150914. We report the results of a matched-filter search using relativistic models of compact-object binaries that recovered GW150914 as the most significant event during the coincident observations between the two LIGO detectors from September 12 to October 20, 2015. GW150914 was observed with a matched filter signal-to-noise ratio of 24 and a false alarm rate estimated to be less than 1 event per 203 000 years, equivalent to a significance greater than 5.1 {\sigma}.

** "GW150914: The Advanced LIGO Detectors in the Era of First Discoveries".** Phys Rev Lett 116 131103 (2016)
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**Abstract:**Following a major upgrade, the two advanced detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) held their first observation run between September 2015 and January 2016. With a strain sensitivity of 10−23/Hz−−−√ at 100 Hz, the product of observable volume and measurement time exceeded that of all previous runs within the first 16 days of coincident observation. On September 14th, 2015 the Advanced LIGO detectors observed a transient gravitational-wave signal determined to be the coalescence of two black holes [Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 061102 (2016)], launching the era of gravitational-wave astronomy. The event, GW150914, was observed with a combined signal-to-noise ratio of 24 in coincidence by the two detectors. Here we present the main features of the detectors that enabled this observation. At full sensitivity, the Advanced LIGO detectors are designed to deliver another factor of three improvement in the signal-to-noise ratio for binary black hole systems similar in masses to GW150914.

** "Observation of GravitationalWaves from a Binary Black Hole Merger".** Phys Rev Lett 116 061102 (2016)
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**Abstract:**On September 14, 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory simultaneously observed a transient gravitational-wave signal. The signal sweeps upwards in frequency from 35 to 250 Hz with a peak gravitational-wave strain of 1.0×10−21. It matches the waveform predicted by general relativity for the inspiral and merger of a pair of black holes and the ringdown of the resulting single black hole. The signal was observed with a matched-filter signal-to-noise ratio of 24 and a false alarm rate estimated to be less than 1 event per 203 000 years, equivalent to a significance greater than 5.1 {\sigma}. The source lies at a luminosity distance of 410+160−180 Mpc corresponding to a redshift z=0.09+0.03−0.04. In the source frame, the initial black hole masses are 36+5−4M⊙ and 29+4−4M⊙, and the final black hole mass is 62+4−4M⊙, with 3.0+0.5−0.5M⊙c2 radiated in gravitational waves. All uncertainties define 90% credible intervals.These observations demonstrate the existence of binary stellar-mass black hole systems. This is the first direct detection of gravitational waves and the first observation of a binary black hole merger.

** Astrophysical Implications of the Binary Black-Hole Merger GW150914.** Astrophys J 818 L22 (2016)
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**Abstract:**The discovery of the gravitational-wave source GW150914 with the Advanced LIGO detectors provides the first observational evidence for the existence of binary black-hole systems that inspiral and merge within the age of the Universe. Such black-hole mergers have been predicted in two main types of formation models, involving isolated binaries in galactic fields or dynamical interactions in young and old dense stellar environments. The measured masses robustly demonstrate that relatively "heavy" black holes (≳25M⊙) can form in nature. This discovery implies relatively weak massive-star winds and thus the formation of GW150914 in an environment with metallicity lower than ∼1/2 of the solar value. The rate of binary black-hole mergers inferred from the observation of GW150914 is consistent with the higher end of rate predictions (≳1Gpc−3yr−1) from both types of formation models. The low measured redshift (z∼0.1) of GW150914 and the low inferred metallicity of the stellar progenitor imply either binary black-hole formation in a low-mass galaxy in the local Universe and a prompt merger, or formation at high redshift with a time delay between formation and merger of several Gyr. This discovery motivates further studies of binary-black-hole formation astrophysics. It also has implications for future detections and studies by Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo, and gravitational-wave detectors in space.

** "Gravitational waveforms for neutron star binaries from binary black hole simulations".** Phys Rev D93 044064 (2016)
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**Abstract:**Gravitational waves from binary neutron star (BNS) and black hole/neutron star (BHNS) inspirals are primary sources for detection by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. The tidal forces acting on the neutron stars induce changes in the phase evolution of the gravitational waveform, and these changes can be used to constrain the nuclear equation of state. Current methods of generating BNS and BHNS waveforms rely on either computationally challenging full 3D hydrodynamical simulations or approximate analytic solutions. We introduce a new method for computing inspiral waveforms for BNS/BHNS systems by adding the post-Newtonian (PN) tidal effects to full numerical simulations of binary black holes (BBHs), effectively replacing the nontidal terms in the PN expansion with BBH results. Comparing a waveform generated with this method against a full hydrodynamical simulation of a BNS inspiral yields a phase difference of <1 radian over ∼15 orbits. The numerical phase accuracy required of BNS simulations to measure the accuracy of the method we present here is estimated as a function of the tidal deformability parameter λ.

** Prospects for Observing and Localizing Gravitational-Wave Transients with Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo.** Living Rev Rel 19 1 (2016)
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**Abstract:**We present a possible observing scenario for the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo gravitational-wave detectors over the next decade, with the intention of providing information to the astronomy community to facilitate planning for multi-messenger astronomy with gravitational waves. We determine the expected sensitivity of the network to transient gravitational-wave signals, and study the capability of the network to determine the sky location of the source. We report our findings for gravitational-wave transients, with particular focus on gravitational-wave signals from the inspiral of binary neutron-star systems, which are considered the most promising for multi-messenger astronomy. The ability to localize the sources of the detected signals depends on the geographical distribution of the detectors and their relative sensitivity, and 90% credible regions can be as large as thousands of square degrees when only two sensitive detectors are operational. Determining the sky position of a significant fraction of detected signals to areas of 5 to 20 square degrees will require at least three detectors of sensitivity within a factor of ~2 of each other and with a broad frequency bandwidth. Should the third LIGO detector be relocated to India as expected, a significant fraction of gravitational-wave signals will be localized to a few square degrees by gravitational-wave observations alone.

** "Accuracy and precision of gravitational-wave models of inspiraling neutron star-black hole binaries with spin: Comparison with matter-free numerical relativity in the low-frequency regime".** Phys Rev D92 102001 (2015)
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**Abstract:**Coalescing binaries of neutron stars (NS) and black holes (BH) are one of the most important sources of gravitational waves for the upcoming network of ground based detectors. Detection and extraction of astrophysical information from gravitational-wave signals requires accurate waveform models. The Effective-One-Body and other phenomenological models interpolate between analytic results and 10−30 orbit numerical relativity (NR) merger simulations. In this paper we study the accuracy of these models using new NR simulations that span 36−88 orbits, with mass-ratios and black hole spins (q,χBH)=(7,±0.4),(7,±0.6), and (5,−0.9). We find that: (i) the recently published SEOBNRv1 and SEOBNRv2 models of the Effective-One-Body family disagree with each other (mismatches of a few percent) for black hole spins ≥0.5 or ≤−0.3, with waveform mismatch accumulating during early inspiral; (ii) comparison with numerical waveforms indicate that this disagreement is due to phasing errors of SEOBNRv1, with SEOBNRv2 in good agreement with all of our simulations; (iii) Phenomenological waveforms disagree with SEOBNRv2 over most of the NSBH binary parameter space; (iv) comparison with NR waveforms shows that most of the model's dephasing accumulates near the frequency interval where it switches to a phenomenological phasing prescription; and finally (v) both SEOBNR and post-Newtonian (PN) models are effectual for NSBH systems, but PN waveforms will give a significant bias in parameter recovery. Our results suggest that future gravitational-wave detection searches and parameter estimation efforts targeted at NSBH systems with q≲7 and χBH≈[−0.9,+0.6] will benefit from using SEOBNRv2 templates. For larger black hole spins and/or binary mass-ratios, we recommend the models be further investigated as suitable NR simulations become available.

** "Observation of photothermal feedback in a stable dual-carrier optical spring".** Phys. Rev. D 92, 062003 (2015)
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**Abstract:**We report on the observation of photo-thermal feed-back in a stable dual-carrier optical spring. The optical spring is realized in a 7 cm Fabry-Perot cavity comprised of a suspended 0.4 g small end mirror and a heavy input coupler, illuminated by two optical fields. The frequency, damping and stability of the optical spring resonance can be tuned by adjusting the power and detuning of the two optical fields, allowing for a precise measurement of the absorption-induced photo-thermal feedback. The magnitude and frequency dependence of the observed photo-thermal effect are consistent with predicted corrections due to transverse thermal diffusion and coating structure. While the observed photo-thermal feed-back tends to destabilize the optical spring, we also propose a small coating modification that would change the sign of the effect, making a single-carrier stable optical spring possible.

** "A Gravitational wave detector with cosmological reach".** Title of Journal or Book
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**Abstract:**Twenty years ago, construction began on the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). Advanced LIGO, with a factor of ten better design sensitivity than Initial LIGO, will begin taking data this year, and should soon make detections a monthly occurrence. While Advanced LIGO promises to make first detections of gravitational waves from the nearby universe, an additional factor of ten increase in sensitivity would put exciting science targets within reach by providing observations of binary black hole inspirals throughout most of the history of star formation, and high signal to noise observations of nearby events. Design studies for future detectors to date rely on significant technological advances that are futuristic and risky. In this paper we propose a different direction. We resurrect the idea of a using longer arm lengths coupled with largely proven technologies. Since the major noise sources that limit gravitational wave detectors do not scale trivially with the length of the detector, we study their impact and find that 40~km arm lengths are nearly optimal, and can incorporate currently available technologies to detect gravitational wave sources at cosmological distances (z≳7).

** "Observation of Parametric Instability in Advanced LIGO".** Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 161102 (2015)
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**Abstract:**Parametric instabilities have long been studied as a potentially limiting effect in high-power interferometric gravitational wave detectors. Until now, however, these instabilities have never been observed in a kilometer-scale interferometer. In this work we describe the first observation of parametric instability in an Advanced LIGO detector, and the means by which it has been removed as a barrier to progress.

** "Photo-thermal transfer function for dielectric mirrors".** Phys. Rev. D 91, 023010 (2015)
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**Abstract:**The photo-thermal transfer function from absorbed power incident on a dielectric mirror to the effective mirror position is calculated using the coating design as input. The effect is found to change in amplitude and sign for frequencies corresponding to diffusion length comparable to the coating thickness. Transfer functions are calculated for the Ti -doped Ta 2 O 5 :SiO 2 coating used in Advanced LIGO and for a crystalline Al x Ga 1−x As coating. The shape of the transfer function at high frequencies is shown to be a sensitive indicator of the effective absorption depth, providing a potentially powerful tool to distinguish coating-internal absorption from surface contamination related absorption. The sign change of the photo-thermal effect could also be useful to stabilize radiation pressure-based opto-mechanical systems. High frequency corrections to the previously published thermo-optic noise estimates are also provided. Finally, estimating the quality of the thermo-optic noise cancellation occurring in fine-tuned Al x Ga 1−x As coatings requires the detailed heat flow analysis done in this paper.

** “Searching for stochastic gravitational waves using data from the two colocated LIGO Hanford detectors”.** Phys. Rev. D 91, 022003 (2015)
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**Abstract:**Searches for a stochastic gravitational-wave background (SGWB) using terrestrial detectors typically involve cross-correlating data from pairs of detectors. The sensitivity of such cross-correlation analyses depends, among other things, on the separation between the two detectors: the smaller the separation, the better the sensitivity. Hence, a co-located detector pair is more sensitive to a gravitational-wave background than a non-co-located detector pair. However, co-located detectors are also expected to suffer from correlated noise from instrumental and environmental effects that could contaminate the measurement of the background. Hence, methods to identify and mitigate the effects of correlated noise are necessary to achieve the potential increase in sensitivity of co-located detectors. Here we report on the first SGWB analysis using the two LIGO Hanford detectors and address the complications arising from correlated environmental noise. We apply correlated noise identification and mitigation techniques to data taken by the two LIGO Hanford detectors, H1 and H2, during LIGO's fifth science run. At low frequencies, 40 - 460 Hz, we are unable to sufficiently mitigate the correlated noise to a level where we may confidently measure or bound the stochastic gravitational-wave signal. However, at high frequencies, 460-1000 Hz, these techniques are sufficient to set a 95 confidence level (C.L.) upper limit on the gravitational-wave energy density of \Omega(f)<7.7 x 10^{-4} (f/ 900 Hz)^3, which improves on the previous upper limit by a factor of ∼180 . In doing so, we demonstrate techniques that will be useful for future searches using advanced detectors, where correlated noise (e.g., from global magnetic fields) may affect even widely separated detectors.

** "Characterization of the LIGO detectors during their sixth science run".** Class Quant Grav 32 115012 (2015)
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**Abstract:**In 2009-2010, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observa- tory (LIGO) operated together with international partners Virgo and GEO600 as a network to search for gravitational waves of astrophysical origin. The sensitiv- ity of these detectors was limited by a combination of noise sources inherent to the instrumental design and its environment, often localized in time or frequency, that couple into the gravitational-wave readout. Here we review the performance of the LIGO instruments during this epoch, the work done to characterize the de- tectors and their data, and the effect that transient and continuous noise artefacts have on the sensitivity of LIGO to a variety of astrophysical sources.

** “Radiative thermal noise for transmissive optics in gravitational-wave detectors”.** Phys. Rev. D 90, 043013 (2014)
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**Abstract:**Radiative losses have traditionally been neglected in the calculation of thermal noise of transmissive optical elements because for the most commonly used geometries they are small compared to losses due to thermal conduction. We explore the use of such transmissive optical elements in extremely noise-sensitive environments such as the arm cavities of future gravitational-wave interferometers. This drives us to a geometry regime where radiative losses are no longer negligible. In this paper we derive the thermo-refractive noise associated with such radiative losses and compare it to other known sources of thermal noise.

** "Multi-dimensional optical trapping of a mirror".** Phys. Rev. D 89, 122002 (2014)
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**Abstract:**Alignment control in gravitational-wave detectors has consistently proven to be a difficult problem due to the stringent noise contamination requirement for the gravitational wave readout and the radiation-pressure-induced angular instability in Fabry-Perot cavities (Sidles-Sigg instability). We present the analysis of a dual-carrier control scheme that uses radiation pressure to control a suspended mirror, trapping it in the longitudinal degree of freedom and one angular degree of freedom. We show that this scheme can control the Sidles-Sigg angular instability. Its limiting fundamental noise source is the quantum radiation pressure noise, providing an advantage compared to the conventional angular control schemes. In the Appendix we also derive an exact expression for the optical spring constant used in the control scheme.

** “Achieving resonance in the advanced LIGO gravitational-wave interferometer”.** Class. Quantum Grav. 31 245010 - 26 Sept 2014 (IOPselect)
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**Abstract:**Interferometric gravitational-wave detectors are complex instruments comprised of a Michelson interferometer enhanced by multiple coupled cavities. Active feedback control is required to operate these instruments and keep the cavities locked on resonance. The optical response is highly nonlinear until a good operating point is reached. The linear operating range is between $0.01\%$ and 1% of a fringe for each degree of freedom. The resonance lock has to be achieved in all five degrees of freedom simultaneously, making the acquisition difficult. Furthermore, the cavity linewidth seen by the laser is only $\sim 1$ Hz, which is four orders of magnitude smaller than the linewidth of the free running laser. The arm length stabilization system is a new technique used for arm cavity locking in Advanced LIGO. Together with a modulation technique utilizing third harmonics to lock the central Michelson interferometer, the Advanced LIGO detector has been successfully locked and brought to an operating point where detecting gravitational-waves becomes feasible.

** “Improved Upper Limits on the Stochastic Gravitational-Wave Background from 2009–2010 LIGO and Virgo Data”.** Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 231101(2014)
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**Abstract:**Gravitational waves from a variety of sources are predicted to superpose to create a stochastic background. This background is expected to contain unique information from throughout the history of the universe that is unavailable through standard electromagnetic observations, making its study of fundamental importance to understanding the evolution of the universe. We carry out a search for the stochastic background with the latest data from LIGO and Virgo. Consistent with predictions from most stochastic gravitational-wave background models, the data display no evidence of a stochastic gravitational-wave signal. Assuming a gravitational-wave spectrum of Omega_GW(f)=Omega_alpha*(f/f_ref)^alpha, we place 95% confidence level upper limits on the energy density of the background in each of four frequency bands spanning 41.5-1726 Hz. In the frequency band of 41.5-169.25 Hz for a spectral index of alpha=0, we constrain the energy density of the stochastic background to be Omega_GW(f)<5.6x10^-6. For the 600-1000 Hz band, Omega_GW(f)<0.14*(f/900 Hz)^3, a factor of 2.5 lower than the best previously reported upper limits. We find Omega_GW(f)<1.8x10^-4 using a spectral index of zero for 170-600 Hz and Omega_GW(f)<1.0*(f/1300 Hz)^3 for 1000-1726 Hz, bands in which no previous direct limits have been placed. The limits in these four bands are the lowest direct measurements to date on the stochastic background. We discuss the implications of these results in light of the recent claim by the BICEP2 experiment of the possible evidence for inflationary gravitational waves.

** “Precise measurement of laser power using an optomechanical system”.** Optics Express, 22(2): 2013-2030 (2014)
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**Abstract:**This paper shows a novel method to precisely measure the laser power using an optomechanical system. By measuring a mirror displacement caused by the reflection of an amplitude modulated laser beam, the number of photons in the incident continuous-wave laser can be precisely measured. We have demonstrated this principle by means of a prototype experiment uses a suspended 25 mg mirror as an mechanical oscillator coupled with the radiation pressure and a Michelson interferometer as the displacement sensor. A measurement of the laser power with an uncertainty of less than one percent (1 sigma) is achievable.

** "Implementing a search for aligned-spin neutron star -- black hole systems with advanced ground based gravitational wave detectors".** Phys. Rev. D 90, 082004, 2014 doi.
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**Abstract:**We study the eect of spins on searches for gravitational waves from compact binary coalescences in realistic simulated early advanced LIGO data. We construct a detection pipeline including matchedltering, signal-based vetoes, a coincidence test between dierent detectors, and an estimate of the rate of background events. We restrict attention to neutron star{black hole (NS-BH) binary systems, and we compare a search using non-spinning templates to one using templates that include spins aligned with the orbital angular momentum. To run the searches we implement the binary inspiral matched lter computation in PyCBC, a new software toolkit for gravitational-wave data analysis. Wend that the inclusion of aligned-spin eects sign cantly increases the astrophysical reach of the search. Considering astrophysical NS-BH systems with non-precessing black hole spins, for dimensionless spin components along the orbital angular momentum uniformly distributed in (1; 1), the sensitive volume of the search with aligned-spin templates is increased by 50% compared to the non-spinning search; for signals with aligned spins uniformly distributed in the range (0:7; 1), the increase in sensitive volume is a factor of 10.

** "The NINJA-2 project: Detecting and characterizing gravitational waveforms modelled using numerical binary black hole simulations" .** Class. Quantum Grav. 31 115004, 2014
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**Abstract:**The Numerical INJection Analysis (NINJA) project is a collaborative eort between members of the numerical relativity and gravitational-wave astrophysics communities. The purpose of NINJA is to study the ability to detect gravitational waves emitted from merging binary black holes and recover their parameters with next-generation gravitational-wave observatories. We report here on the results of the second NINJA project, NINJA-2, which employs 60 complete binary black hole hybrid waveforms consisting of a numerical portion modelling the late inspiral, merger, and ringdown stitched to a post-Newtonian portion modelling the early inspiral. In a \blind injection challenge" similar to that conducted in recent LIGO and Virgo science runs, we added 7 hybrid waveforms to two months of data recolored to predictions of Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo sensitivity curves during theirrst observing runs. The resulting data was analyzed by gravitational-wave detection algorithms and 6 of the waveforms were recovered with false alarm rates smaller than 1 in a thousand years. Parameter estimation algorithms were run on each of these waveforms to explore the ability to constrain the masses, component angular momenta and sky position of these waveforms. Wend that the strong degeneracy between the mass ratio and the black holes' angular momenta will make it dicult to precisely estimate these parameters with Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo. We also perform a large-scale monte-carlo study to assess the ability to recover each of the 60 hybrid waveforms with early Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo sensitivity curves. Our results predict that early Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo will have a volume-weighted average sensitive distance of 300Mpc (1Gpc) for 10 + 10 (50 + 50 ) binary black hole coalescences. We demonstrate that neglecting the component angular momenta in the waveform models used in matched ltering will result in a reduction in sensitivity for systems with large component angular momenta. This reduction is estimated to be up to 15% for 50 + 50 binary black hole coalescences with almost maximal angular momenta aligned with the orbit when using early Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo sensitivity curves.

** "Search for gravitational waves associated with gamma-ray bursts detected by the InterPlanetary Network" .** Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 011102 (2014)
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**Abstract:**We present the results of a search for gravitational waves associated with 223 gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) detected by the InterPlanetary Network (IPN) in 2005{2010 during LIGO's fth and sixth science runs and Virgo'srst, second and third science runs. The IPN satellites provide accurate times of the bursts and sky localizations that vary sign cantly from degree scale to hundreds of square degrees. We search for both a well{modeled binary coalescence signal, the favored progenitor model for short GRBs, and for generic, unmodeled gravitational wave bursts. Both searches use the event time and sky localization to improve the gravitational- wave search sensitivity as compared to corresponding all{time, all{sky searches. Wend no evidence of a gravitational-wave signal associated with any of the IPN GRBs in the sample, nor do wend evidence for a population of weak gravitational-wave signals associated with the GRBs. For all IPN{detected GRBs, for which a sucient duration of quality gravitational-wave data is available, we place lower bounds on the distance to the source in accordance with an optimistic assumption of gravitational-wave emission energy of 102 c2 at 150 Hz, andnd a median of 13Mpc. For the 27 short-hard GRBs we place 90% co dence exclusion distances to two source models: a binary neutron star coalescence, with a median distance of 12Mpc, or the coalescence of a neutron star and black hole, with a median distance of 22Mpc. Finally, we combine this search with previously published results to provide a population statement for GRB searches inrst{generation LIGO and Virgo gravitational-wave detectors, and a resulting examination of prospects for the advanced gravitational{wave detectors.

** "A New class of optical beams for large baseline interferometric gravitational wave detectors".** Phys. Rev. D 88, 062004 (2013)
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**Abstract:**A folded resonant Fabry-Perot cavity has the potential to significantly reduce the impact of coating thermal noise on the performance of kilometer scale gravitational wave detectors. When constructed using only spherical mirror surfaces it is possible to utilize the extremely robust TEM 00 mode optical mode. In this paper we investigate the potential thermal noise improvements that can be achieved for third generation gravitational wave detectors using realistic constraints. Comparing the previously proposed beam configurations such as e.g. higher order Laguerre-Gauss modes, we find that similar or better thermal noise improvement factors can be achieved, while avoiding degeneracy issues associated with those beams.

** "Template Banks for Binary black hole searches with Numerical Relativity waveforms" .** Phys. Rev. D 89, 042002 (2014)
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**Abstract:**Gravitational waves (GW) from coalescing stellar-mass black hole binaries (BBH) are expected to be detected by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory and Advanced Virgo. Detection searches operate by matched-filtering the detector data using a bank of waveform templates. Traditionally, template banks for BBH are constructed from intermediary analytical waveform models which are calibrated against numerical relativity simulations and which can be evaluated for any choice of BBH parameters. This paper explores an alternative to the traditional approach, namely the construction of template banks directly from numerical BBH simulations. Using non-spinning BBH systems as an example, we demonstrate which regions of the massparameter plane can be covered with existing numerical BBH waveforms. We estimate the required number and required length of BBH simulations to cover the entire non-spinning BBH parameter plane up to mass-ratio 10, thus illustrating that our approach can be used to guide parameter placement of future numerical simulations. We derive error bounds which are independent of analytical waveform models; therefore, our formalism can be used to independently test the accuracy of such waveform models. The resulting template banks are suitable for advanced LIGO searches.

** "Search for gravitational wave ringdowns from perturbed intermediate mass black holes in LIGO-Virgo data from 2005-2010".** Phys. Rev. D 89, 102006 (2014)
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**Abstract:**We report results from a search for gravitational waves produced by perturbed intermediate mass black holes (IMBH) in data collected by LIGO and Virgo between 2005 and 2010. The search was sensitive to astrophysical sources that produced damped sinusoid gravitational wave signals, also known as ringdowns, with frequency 50 f0=Hz 2000 and decay timescale 0:0001 . =s . 0:1 characteristic of those produced in mergers of IMBH pairs. No sign cant gravitational wave candidate was detected. We report upper limits on the astrophysical coalescence rates of IMBHs with total binary mass 50 M= 450 and component mass ratios of either 1:1 or 4:1. For systems with total mass 100 M= 150, we report a 90%-co dence upper limit on the rate of binary IMBH mergers with non-spinning and equal mass components of 6:9 108 Mpc3yr1. We also report a rate upper limit for ringdown waveforms from perturbed IMBHs, radiating 1% of their mass as gravitational waves in the fundamental, ` = m = 2, oscillation mode, that is nearly three orders of magnitude more stringent than previous results.

** "Investigating the effect of precession on searches for neutron-star-black-hole binaries with Advanced LIGO".** Phys. Rev. D 89, 024010, 2014
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**Abstract:**The first direct detection of neutron-star–black-hole binaries will likely be made with gravitational-wave observatories. Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo will be able to observe neutron-star–black-hole mergers at a maximum distance of 900 Mpc. To achieve this sensitivity, gravitational-wave searches will rely on using a bank of filter waveforms that accurately model the expected gravitational-wave signal. The emitted signal will depend on the masses of the black hole and the neutron star and also the angular momentum of both components. The angular momentum of the black hole is expected to be comparable to the orbital angular momentum when the system is emitting gravitational waves in Advanced LIGO’s and Advanced Virgo’s sensitive band. This angular momentum will affect the dynamics of the inspiralling system and alter the phase evolution of the emitted gravitational-wave signal. In addition, if the black hole’s angular momentum is not aligned with the orbital angular momentum it will cause the orbital plane of the system to precess. In this work we demonstrate that if the effect of the black hole’s angular momentum is neglected in the waveform models used in gravitational-wave searches, the detection rate of (10 + 1:4) neutron-star–black-hole systems with isotropic spin distributions would be reduced by 33% 37% in comparison to a hypothetical perfect search at a fixed signal-to-noise ratio threshold. The error in this measurement is due to uncertainty in the post-Newtonian approximations that are used to model the gravitational-wave signal of neutron-star–black-hole inspiralling binaries. We describe a new method for creating a bank of filter waveforms where the black hole has nonzero angular momentum that is aligned with the orbital angular momentum. With this bank we find that the detection rate of (10 + 1:4) neutron-star–black-hole systems would be reduced by 26%33%. Systems that will not be detected are ones where the precession of the orbital plane causes the gravitational-wave signal to match poorly with nonprecessing filter waveforms. We identify the regions of parameter space where such systems occur and suggest methods for searching for highly precessing neutron-star–black-hole binaries.

** "Accuracy of gravitational waveform models for observing neutron-star--black-hole binaries in Advanced LIGO".** Phys. Rev. D 88, 124039 (2013)
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**Abstract:**Gravitational waves radiated by the coalescence of compact-object binaries containing a neutron star and a black hole are one of the most interesting sources for the ground-based gravitational-wave observatories Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo. Advanced LIGO will be sensitive to the inspiral of a 1:4 neutron star into a 10 black hole to a maximum distance of 900 Mpc. Achieving this sensitivity and extracting the physics imprinted in observed signals requires accurate modeling of the binary to construct template waveforms. In a neutron star–black hole binary, the black hole may have significant angular momentum (spin), which affects the phase evolution of the emitted gravitational waves. We investigate the ability of currently available post-Newtonian templates to model the gravitational waves emitted during the inspiral phase of neutron star–black hole binaries. We restrict to the case where the spin of the black hole is aligned with the orbital angular momentum and compare several post-Newtonian approximants. We examine restricted amplitude post- Newtonian waveforms that are accurate to third-and-a-half post-Newtonian order in the orbital dynamics and complete to second-and-a-half post-Newtonian order in the spin dynamics. We also consider post-Newtonian waveforms that include the recently derived third-and-a-half post-Newtonian order spin-orbit correction and the third post-Newtonian order spin-orbit tail correction. We compare these post-Newtonian approximants to the effective-one-body waveforms for spin-aligned binaries. For all of these waveform families, we find that there is a large disagreement between different waveform approximants starting at low to moderate black hole spins, particularly for binaries where the spin is anti-aligned with the orbital angular momentum. The match between the TaylorT4 and TaylorF2 approximants is 0:8 for a binary with mBH=mNS 4 and BH = cJBH=Gm2 BH 0:4. We show that the divergence between the gravitational waveforms begins in the early inspiral at v 0:2 for BH 0:4. Post-Newtonian spin corrections beyond those currently known will be required for optimal detection searches and to measure the parameters of neutron star–black hole binaries. The strong dependence of the gravitational-wave signal on the spin dynamics will make it possible to extract significant astrophysical information from detected systems with Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo.

** "Discovery and redshift of an optical afterglow in 71 square degrees: iPTF13bxl and GRB 130702A ".** 2013 ApJ 776 L34
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**Abstract:**We report the discovery of the optical afterglow of the gamma-ray burst (GRB) 130702A, identified upon searching 71 square degrees surrounding the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) localization. Discovered and characterized by the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF), iPTF13bxl is the first afterglow discovered solely based on a GBM localization. Real-time image subtraction, machine learning, human vetting, and rapid response multi-wavelength follow-up enabled us to quickly narrow a list of 27,004 optical transient candidates to a single afterglow-like source. Detection of a new, fading X-ray source by Swift and a radio counterpart by CARMA and the VLA confirmed the association between iPTF13bxl and GRB 130702A. Spectroscopy with the Magellan and Palomar 200-inch telescopes showed the afterglow to be at a redshift of z=0.145, placing GRB 130702A among the lowest redshift GRBs detected to date. The prompt gamma-ray energy release and afterglow luminosity are intermediate between typical cosmological GRBs and nearby sub-luminous events such as GRB 980425 and GRB 060218. The bright afterglow and emerging supernova offer an opportunity for extensive panchromatic follow-up. Our discovery of iPTF13bxl demonstrates the first observational proof-of-principle for ~10 Fermi-iPTF localizations annually. Furthermore, it represents an important step towards overcoming the challenges inherent in uncovering faint optical counterparts to comparably localized gravitational wave events in the Advanced LIGO and Virgo era.

** "When can gravitational-wave observations distinguish between black holes and neutron stars?".** AstrophysJ
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**Abstract:**Gravitational-wave observations of compact binaries have the potential to uncover the distribution of masses and angular momenta of black holes and neutron stars in the universe. The binary components' physical parameters can be inferred from their effect on the phasing of the gravitational-wave signal, but a partial degeneracy between the components' mass ratio and their angular momenta limits our ability to measure the individual component masses. At the typical signal amplitudes expected by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (signal-to-noise ratios between 10 and 20), we show that it will in many cases be difficult to distinguish whether the components are neutron stars or black holes. We identify when the masses of the binary components could be unambiguously measured outside the range of current observations: a system with a chirp mass ≤0.871 M⊙ would unambiguously contain the smallest-mass neutron star observed, and a system with $\mathcal{M} \ge 2.786 \Msun$ must contain a black hole. However, additional information would be needed to distinguish between a binary containing two 1.35 M⊙ neutron stars and an exotic neutron-star--black-hole binary. We also identify those configurations that could be unambiguously identified as black-hole binaries, and show how the observation of an electromagnetic counterpart to a neutron-star--black-hole binary could be used to constrain the black-hole spin.

** "Parameter estimation for compact binary coalescence signals with the first generation gravitational-wave detector network".** 10.1103/PhysRevD.88.062001
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**Abstract:**Compact binary systems with neutron stars or black holes are one of the most promising sources for ground-based gravitational wave detectors. Gravitational radiation encodes rich information about source physics; thus parameter estimation and model selection are crucial analysis steps for any detection candidate events. Detailed models of the anticipated waveforms enable inference on several parameters, such as component masses, spins, sky location and distance that are essential for new astrophysical studies of these sources. However, accurate measurements of these parameters and discrimination of models describing the underlying physics are complicated by artifacts in the data, uncertainties in the waveform models and in the calibration of the detectors. Here we report such measurements on a selection of simulated signals added either in hardware or software to the data collected by the two LIGO instruments and the Virgo detector during their most recent joint science run, including a "blind injection" where the signal was not initially revealed to the collaboration. We exemplify the ability to extract information about the source physics on signals that cover the neutron star and black hole parameter space over the individual mass range 1 Msun - 25 Msun and the full range of spin parameters. The cases reported in this study provide a snap-shot of the status of parameter estimation in preparation for the operation of advanced detectors.

** "Template banks to search for low-mass binary black holes in advanced gravitational-wave detectors".** Phys. Rev. D 87, 082004 (2013)
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**Abstract:**Coalescing binary black holes (BBHs) are among the most likely sources for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and its international partners Virgo and KAGRA. Optimal searches for BBHs require accurate waveforms for the signal model and effectual template banks that cover the mass space of interest. We investigate the ability of the second-order post-Newtonian TaylorF2 hexagonal template placement metric to construct an effectual template bank, if the template waveforms used are effective one body waveforms tuned to numerical relativity (EOBNRv2). We find that by combining the existing TaylorF2 placement metric with EOBNRv2 waveforms, we can construct an effectual search for BBHs with component masses in the range 3 Msolar <= m_1, m_2 <= 25 Msolar. We also show that the (computationally less expensive) TaylorF2 post-Newtonian waveforms can be used in place of EOBNRv2 waveforms when M <~ 11.4 Msolar. Finally, we investigate the effect of modes other than the dominant l = m = 2 mode in BBH searches. We find that for systems with (m_1/m_2)<= 1.68 or inclination angle: \iota <= 0.31 or \iota >= 2.68 radians, there is no significant loss in the total possible signal-to-noise ratio due to neglecting modes other than l = m = 2 in the template waveforms. For a source population uniformly distributed in spacial volume, over the entire sampled region of the component-mass space, the loss in detection rate (averaged over a uniform distribution of inclination angle and sky-location/polarization angles), remains below ~11%. For binaries with high mass-ratios \textit{and} 0.31 <= \iota <= 2.68, including higher order modes could increase the signal-to-noise ratio by as much as 8% in Advanced LIGO. Our results can be used to construct matched-filter searches in Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo.

** "Effect of eccentricity on binary neutron star searches in Advanced LIGO".** 10.1103/PhysRevD.87.127501
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**Abstract:**Binary neutron stars (BNSs) are the primary source of gravitational waves for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and its international partners Virgo and KAGRA. Current BNS searches target field binaries whose orbits will have circularized by radiation reaction before their gravitational waves enter the Advanced LIGO sensitive band at 15 Hz. It has been suggested that a population of BNSs may form by n-body interactions near supermassive black holes or in globular clusters and that these systems may have non-negligible eccentricity in the Advanced LIGO band. We show that for BNS systems with total mass of 2.4 (6.0) solar masses, the effect of eccentricity e < 0.02 (0.05) is negligible and a circular search is effectual for these binaries. For eccentricities up to e = 0.4, we investigate the selection bias caused by neglecting eccentricity in BNS searches. If such high eccentricity systems exist, searches that specifically target eccentric binaries will be needed in Advanced LIGO and Virgo.

** "Searching for gravitational waves from binary coalescence".** 10.1103/PhysRevD.87.024033
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**Abstract:**We describe the implementation of a search for gravitational waves from compact binary coalescences in LIGO and Virgo data. This all-sky, all-time, multi-detector search for binary coalescence has been used to search data taken in recent LIGO and Virgo runs. The search is built around a matched filter analysis of the data, augmented by numerous signal consistency tests designed to distinguish artifacts of non-Gaussian detector noise from potential detections. We demonstrate the search performance using Gaussian noise and data from the fifth LIGO science run and demonstrate that the signal consistency tests are capable of mitigating the effect of non-Gaussian noise and providing a sensitivity comparable to that achieved in Gaussian noise.

** 'Search for Gravitational Waves from Binary Black Hole Inspiral, Merger and Ringdown in LIGO-Virgo Data from 2009-2010".** Phys. Rev. D 87, 022002 (2013)
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**Abstract:**We report a search for gravitational waves from the inspiral, merger and ringdown of binary black holes (BBH) with total mass between 25 and 100 solar masses, in data taken at the LIGO and Virgo observatories between July 7, 2009 and October 20, 2010. The maximum sensitive distance of the detectors over this period for a (20,20) Msun coalescence was 300 Mpc. No gravitational wave signals were found. We thus report upper limits on the astrophysical coalescence rates of BBH as a function of the component masses for non-spinning components, and also evaluate the dependence of the search sensitivity on component spins aligned with the orbital angular momentum. We find an upper limit at 90% confidence on the coalescence rate of BBH with non-spinning components of mass between 19 and 28 Msun of 3.3 \times 10^-7 mergers /Mpc^3 /yr.

** "Search for gravitational waves associated with gamma-ray bursts during LIGO science run 6 and Virgo science runs 2 and 3.** Astrophys
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**Abstract:**We present the results of a search for gravitational waves associated with 154 gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) that were detected by satellite-based gamma-ray experiments in 2009-2010, during the sixth LIGO science run and the second and third Virgo science runs. We perform two distinct searches: a modeled search for coalescences of either two neutron stars or a neutron star and black hole; and a search for generic, unmodeled gravitational-wave bursts. We find no evidence for gravitational-wave counterparts, either with any individual GRB in this sample or with the population as a whole. For all GRBs we place lower bounds on the distance to the progenitor, under the optimistic assumption of a gravitational-wave emission energy of 10^-2 M c^2 at 150 Hz, with a median limit of 17 Mpc. For short hard GRBs we place exclusion distances on binary neutron star and neutron star-black hole progenitors, using astrophysically motivated priors on the source parameters, with median values of 16 Mpc and 28 Mpc respectively. These distance limits, while significantly larger than for a search that is not aided by GRB satellite observations, are not large enough to expect a coincidence with a GRB. However, projecting these exclusions to the sensitivities of Advanced LIGO and Virgo, which should begin operation in 2015, we find that the detection of gravitational waves associated with GRBs will become quite possible.

** "Detecting binary neutron star systems with spin in advanced gravitational-wave detectors".** Phys. Rev. D 86, 084017 (2012)
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**Abstract:**The detection of gravitational waves from binary neutron stars is a major goal of the gravitational-wave observatories Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo. Previous searches for binary neutron stars with LIGO and Virgo neglected the component stars' angular momentum (spin). We demonstrate that neglecting spin in matched-filter searches causes advanced detectors to lose more than 3% of the possible signal-to-noise ratio for 59% (6%) of sources, assuming that neutron star dimensionless spins, cJ/GM2, are uniformly distributed with magnitudes between 0 and 0.4 (0.05) and that the neutron stars have isotropically distributed spin orientations. We present a new method for constructing template banks for gravitational wave searches for systems with spin. We present a new metric in a parameter space in which the template placement metric is globally flat. This new method can create template banks of signals with non-zero spins that are (anti-)aligned with the orbital angular momentum. We show that this search loses more than 3% of the maximium signal-to-noise for only 9% (0.2%) of BNS sources with dimensionless spins between 0 and 0.4 (0.05) and isotropic spin orientations. Use of this template bank will prevent selection bias in gravitational-wave searches and allow a more accurate exploration of the distribution of spins in binary neutron stars.

** "Nonspinning searches for spinning binaries in ground-based detector data: Amplitude and mismatch predictions in the constant precession cone approximation".** 10.1103/PhysRevD.86.064020
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**Abstract:**Current searches for compact binary mergers by ground-based gravitational-wave detectors assume for simplicity the two bodies are not spinning. If the binary contains compact objects with significant spin, then this can reduce the sensitivity of these searches, particularly for black hole--neutron star binaries. In this paper we investigate the effect of neglecting precession on the sensitivity of searches for spinning binaries using non-spinning waveform models. We demonstrate that in the sensitive band of Advanced LIGO, the angle between the binary's orbital angular momentum and its total angular momentum is approximately constant. Under this \emph{constant precession cone} approximation, we show that the gravitational-wave phasing is modulated in two ways: a secular increase of the gravitational-wave phase due to precession and an oscillation around this secular increase. We show that this secular evolution occurs in precisely three ways, corresponding to physically different apparent evolutions of the binary's precession about the line of sight. We estimate the best possible fitting factor between \emph{any} non-precessing template model and a single precessing signal, in the limit of a constant precession cone. Our closed form estimate of the fitting-factor depends only the geometry of the in-band precession cone; it does not depend explicitly on binary parameters, detector response, or details of either signal model. The precessing black hole--neutron star waveforms least accurately matched by nonspinning waveforms correspond to viewing geometries where the precession cone sweeps the orbital plane repeatedly across the line of sight, in an unfavorable polarization alignment.

** "The characterization of Virgo data and its impact on gravitational-wave searches".** Class Quant Grav
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**Abstract:**Between 2007 and 2010 Virgo collected data in coincidence with the LIGO and GEO gravitational-wave (GW) detectors. These data have been searched for GWs emitted by cataclysmic phenomena in the universe, by non-axisymmetric rotating neutron stars or from a stochastic background in the frequency band of the detectors. The sensitivity of GW searches is limited by noise produced by the detector or its environment. It is therefore crucial to characterize the various noise sources in a GW detector. This paper reviews the Virgo detector noise sources, noise propagation, and conversion mechanisms which were identified in the three first Virgo observing runs. In many cases, these investigations allowed us to mitigate noise sources in the detector, or to selectively flag noise events and discard them from the data. We present examples from the joint LIGO-GEO-Virgo GW searches to show how well noise transients and narrow spectral lines have been identified and excluded from the Virgo data. We also discuss how detector characterization can improve the astrophysical reach of gravitational-wave searches.

** "Accurate modeling of intermediate-mass-ratio inspirals: Exploring the form of the self-force in the intermediate-mass-ratio regime".** Phys. Rev. D86:024024, 2012
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**Abstract:**In this paper we develop a waveform model that accurately reproduces the dynamical evolution of intermediate-mass-ratio inspirals, as predicted by the effective-one-body (EOB) model introduced in [1], and which enables us to shed some light on the form of the self-force for events with mass-ratio 1:6, 1:10 and 1:100. To complement this study, we make use of self-force results in the extreme-mass-ratio regime, and of predictions of the EOB model introduced in [1], to derive a prescription for the shift of the orbital frequency at the innermost stable circular orbit which consistently captures predictions from the extreme, intermediate and comparable mass-ratio regimes.

** "First Low-Latency LIGO+Virgo Search for Binary Inspirals and their Electromagnetic Counterparts".** Astronomy and Astrophysics
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**Abstract:**Aims. The detection and measurement of gravitational-waves from coalescing neutron-star binary systems is an important science goal for ground-based gravitational-wave detectors. In addition to emitting gravitational-waves at frequencies that span the most sensitive bands of the LIGO and Virgo detectors, these sources are also amongst the most likely to produce an electromagnetic counterpart to the gravitational-wave emission. A joint detection of the gravitational-wave and electromagnetic signals would provide a powerful new probe for astronomy. Methods. During the period between September 19 and October 20, 2010, the first low-latency search for gravitational-waves from binary inspirals in LIGO and Virgo data was conducted. The resulting triggers were sent to electromagnetic observatories for followup. We describe the generation and processing of the low-latency gravitational-wave triggers. The results of the electromagnetic image analysis will be described elsewhere. Results. Over the course of the science run, three gravitational-wave triggers passed all of the low-latency selection cuts. Of these, one was followed up by several of our observational partners. Analysis of the gravitational-wave data leads to an estimated false alarm rate of once every 6.4 days, falling far short of the requirement for a detection based solely on gravitational-wave data.

** "Importance of including small body spin effects in the modelling of intermediate mass-ratio inspirals. II Accurate parameter extraction of strong sources using higher-order spin effects".** Phys. Rev. D85:064023,2012
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**Abstract:**We improve the numerical kludge waveform model introduced in [1] in two ways. We extend the equations of motion for spinning black hole binaries derived by Saijo et al. [2] using spin-orbit and spin-spin couplings taken from perturbative and post-Newtonian (PN) calculations at the highest order available. We also include first-order conservative self-force corrections for spin-orbit and spin-spin couplings, which are derived by comparison to PN results. We generate the inspiral evolution using fluxes that include the most recent calculations of small body spin corrections, spin-spin and spin-orbit couplings and higher-order fits to solutions of the Teukolsky equation. Using a simplified version of this model in [1], we found that small body spin effects could be measured through gravitational wave observations from intermediate-mass ratio inspirals (IMRIs) with mass ratio eta ~ 0.001, when both binary components are rapidly rotating. In this paper we study in detail how the spin of the small/big body affects parameter measurement using a variety of mass and spin combinations for typical IMRIs sources. We find that for IMRI events of a moderately rotating intermediate mass black hole (IMBH) of ten thousand solar masses, and a rapidly rotating central supermassive black hole (SMBH) of one million solar masses, gravitational wave observations made with LISA at a fixed signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 1000 will be able to determine the inspiralling IMBH mass, the central SMBH mass, the SMBH spin magnitude, and the IMBH spin magnitude to within fractional errors of ~0.001, 0.001, 0.0001, and 9%, respectively. LISA can also determine the location of the source in the sky and the SMBH spin orientation to within ~0.0001 steradians. We show that by including conservative corrections up to 2.5PN order, systematic errors no longer dominate over statistical errors for IMRIs with typical SNR ~1000.

** "Search for Gravitational Waves from Low Mass Compact Binary Coalescence in LIGO's Sixth Science Run and Virgo's Science Runs 2 and 3".** Phys. Rev. D 85, 082002 (2012)
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**Abstract:**We report on a search for gravitational waves from coalescing compact binaries using LIGO and Virgo observations between July 7, 2009 and October 20, 2010. We searched for signals from binaries with total mass between 2 and 25 solar masses; this includes binary neutron stars, binary black holes, and binaries consisting of a black hole and neutron star. The detectors were sensitive to systems up to 40 Mpc distant for binary neutron stars, and further for higher mass systems. No gravitational-wave signals were detected. We report upper limits on the rate of compact binary coalescence as a function of total mass, including the results from previous LIGO and Virgo observations. The cumulative 90%-confidence rate upper limits of the binary coalescence of binary neutron star, neutron star- black hole and binary black hole systems are 1.3 x 10^{-4}, 3.1 x 10^{-5} and 6.4 x 10^{-6} Mpc^{-3}yr^{-1}, respectively. These upper limits are up to a factor 1.4 lower than previously derived limits. We also report on results from a blind injection challenge.

** "FINDCHIRP: an algorithm for detection of gravitational waves from inspiraling compact binaries".** 10.1103/PhysRevD.85.122006
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**Abstract:**Matched-filter searches for gravitational waves from coalescing compact binaries by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration use the findchirp algorithm: an implementation of the optimal filter with innovations to account for unknown signal parameters and to improve performance on detector data that has non-stationary and non-Gaussian artifacts. We provide details on the methods used in the findchirp algorithm as used in the search for sub-solar mass binaries, binary neutron stars, neutron star--black hole binaries and binary black holes.

** "The NINJA-2 catalog of hybrid post-Newtonian/numerical-relativity waveforms for non-precessing black-hole binaries".** ClassQuantGrav
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**Abstract:**The Numerical INJection Analysis (NINJA) project is a collaborative effort between members of the numerical relativity and gravitational wave data analysis communities. The purpose of NINJA is to study the sensitivity of existing gravitational-wave search and parameter-estimation algorithms using numerically generated waveforms, and to foster closer collaboration between the numerical relativity and data analysis communities. The first NINJA project used only a small number of injections of short numerical-relativity waveforms, which limited its ability to draw quantitative conclusions. The goal of the NINJA-2 project is to overcome these limitations with long post-Newtonian - numerical relativity hybrid waveforms, large numbers of injections, and the use of real detector data. We report on the submission requirements for the NINJA-2 project and the construction of the waveform catalog. Eight numerical relativity groups have contributed 63 hybrid waveforms consisting of a numerical portion modelling the late inspiral, merger, and ringdown stitched to a post-Newtonian portion modelling the early inspiral. We summarize the techniques used by each group in constructing their submissions. We also report on the procedures used to validate these submissions, including examination in the time and frequency domains and comparisons of waveforms from different groups against each other. These procedures have so far considered only the (ℓ,m)=(2,2) mode. Based on these studies we judge that the hybrid waveforms are suitable for NINJA-2 studies. We note some of the plans for these investigations.

** "Implications For The Origin Of GRB 051103 From LIGO Observations".** AstrophysJ
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**Abstract:**We present the results of a LIGO search for gravitational waves (GWs) associated with GRB 051103, a short-duration hard-spectrum gamma-ray burst (GRB) whose electromagnetically determined sky position is coincident with the spiral galaxy M81, which is 3.6 Mpc from Earth. Possible progenitors for short-hard GRBs include compact object mergers and soft gamma repeater (SGR) giant flares. A merger progenitor would produce a characteristic GW signal that should be detectable at the distance of M81, while GW emission from an SGR is not expected to be detectable at that distance. We found no evidence of a GW signal associated with GRB 051103. Assuming weakly beamed gamma-ray emission with a jet semi-angle of 30 deg we exclude a binary neutron star merger in M81 as the progenitor with a confidence of 98%. Neutron star-black hole mergers are excluded with > 99% confidence. If the event occurred in M81 our findings support the the hypothesis that GRB 051103 was due to an SGR giant flare, making it the most distant extragalactic magnetar observed to date.

** "Search for gravitational waves from binary black hole inspiral, merger and ringdown".** Phys.Rev.D83:122005,2011
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**Abstract:**We present the first modeled search for gravitational waves using the complete binary black hole gravitational waveform from inspiral through the merger and ringdown for binaries with negligible component spin. We searched approximately 2 years of LIGO data taken between November 2005 and September 2007 for systems with component masses of 1-99 solar masses and total masses of 25-100 solar masses. We did not detect any plausible gravitational-wave signals but we do place upper limits on the merger rate of binary black holes as a function of the component masses in this range. We constrain the rate of mergers for binary black hole systems with component masses between 19 and 28 solar masses and negligible spin to be no more than 2.0 per Mpc^3 per Myr at 90% confidence.

** "Upper limits on a stochastic gravitational-wave background using LIGO and Virgo interferometers at 600-1000 Hz".** Phys. Rev. D 85, 122001 (2012)
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**Abstract:**A stochastic background of gravitational waves is expected to arise from a superposition of many incoherent sources of gravitational waves, of either cosmological or astrophysical origin. This background is a target for the current generation of ground-based detectors. In this article we present the first joint search for a stochastic background using data from the LIGO and Virgo interferometers. In a frequency band of 600-1000 Hz, we obtained a 95% upper limit on the amplitude of Ω GW (f)=Ω 3 (f/900Hz) 3 , of Ω 3 <0.33 , assuming a value of the Hubble parameter of h 100 =0.72 . These new limits are a factor of seven better than the previous best in this frequency band.

** "Optimal alignment sensing of a readout mode cleaner cavity".** Opt. Lett. 36(22): 4365-4367 (2011)
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**Abstract:**Critically coupled resonant optical cavities are often used as mode cleaners in optical systems to improve the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of a signal that is encoded as an amplitude modulation of a laser beam. Achieving the best SNR requires maintaining the alignment of the mode cleaner relative to the laser beam on which the signal is encoded. An automatic alignment system that is primarily sensitive to the carrier field component of the beam will not, in general, provide optimal SNR. We present an approach that modifies traditional dither alignment sensing by applying a large amplitude modulation on the signal field, thereby producing error signals that are sensitive to the signal sideband field alignment. When used in conjunction with alignment actuators, this approach can improve the detected SNR; we demonstrate a factor of 3 improvement in the SNR of a kilometer-scale detector of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. This approach can be generalized to other types of alignment sensors.

** "Directional Limits on Persistent Gravitational Waves Using LIGO S5 Science Data".** Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 271102 (2011)
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**Abstract:**The gravitational-wave (GW) sky may include nearby pointlike sources as well as astrophysical and cosmological stochastic backgrounds. Since the relative strength and angular distribution of the many possible sources of GWs are not well constrained, searches for GW signals must be performed in a model-independent way. To that end we perform two directional searches for persistent GWs using data from the LIGO S5 science run: one optimized for pointlike sources and one for arbitrary extended sources. The latter result is the first of its kind. Finding no evidence to support the detection of GWs, we present 90% confidence level (CL) upper-limit maps of GW strain power with typical values between 2-20x10^-50 strain^2 Hz^-1 and 5-35x10^-49 strain^2 Hz^-1 sr^-1 for pointlike and extended sources respectively. The limits on pointlike sources constitute a factor of 30 improvement over the previous best limits. We also set 90% CL limits on the narrow-band root-mean-square GW strain from interesting targets including Sco X-1, SN1987A and the Galactic Center as low as ~7x10^-25 in the most sensitive frequency range near 160 Hz. These limits are the most constraining to date and constitute a factor of 5 improvement over the previous best limits.

** "Search for Gravitational Waves from Compact Binary Coalescence in LIGO and Virgo Data from S5 and VSR1".** Phys.Rev.D82:102001,2010
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**Abstract:**We report the results of the first search for gravitational waves from compact binary coalescence using data from the LIGO and Virgo detectors. Five months of data were collected during the concurrent S5 (LIGO) and VSR1 (Virgo) science runs. The search focused on signals from binary mergers with a total mass between 2 and 35 Msun. No gravitational waves are identified. The cumulative 90%-confidence upper limits on the rate of compact binary coalescence are calculated for non-spinning binary neutron stars, black hole-neutron star systems, and binary black holes to be 8.7x10^-3, 2.2x10^-3 and 4.4x10^-4 yr^-1 L_10^-1 respectively, where L_10 is 10^10 times the blue solar luminosity. These upper limits are compared with astrophysical expectations.

** "Methods for Reducing False Alarms in Searches for Compact Binary Coalescences in LIGO Data.** Class.Quant.Grav.27:165023,2010
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**Abstract:**The LIGO detectors are sensitive to a variety of noise transients of non-astrophysical origin. Instrumental glitches and environmental disturbances increase the false alarm rate in the searches for gravitational waves. Using times already identified when the interferometers produced data of questionable quality, or when the channels that monitor the interferometer indicated non-stationarity, we have developed techniques to safely and effectively veto false triggers from the compact binary coalescences (CBCs) search pipeline.

** "Predictions for the Rates of Compact Binary Coalescences Observable by Ground-based Gravitational-wave Detectors".** Class.Quant.Grav.27:173001,2010
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**Abstract:**We present an up-to-date, comprehensive summary of the rates for all types of compact binary coalescence sources detectable by the Initial and Advanced versions of the ground-based gravitational-wave detectors LIGO and Virgo. Astrophysical estimates for compact-binary coalescence rates depend on a number of assumptions and unknown model parameters, and are still uncertain. The most confident among these estimates are the rate predictions for coalescing binary neutron stars which are based on extrapolations from observed binary pulsars in our Galaxy. These yield a likely coalescence rate of 100 per Myr per Milky Way Equivalent Galaxy (MWEG), although the rate could plausibly range from 1 per Myr per MWEG to 1000 per Myr per MWEG. We convert coalescence rates into detection rates based on data from the LIGO S5 and Virgo VSR2 science runs and projected sensitivities for our Advanced detectors. Using the detector sensitivities derived from these data, we find a likely detection rate of 0.02 per year for Initial LIGO-Virgo interferometers, with a plausible range between 0.0002 and 0.2 per year. The likely binary neutron-star detection rate for the Advanced LIGO-Virgo network increases to 40 events per year, with a range between 0.4 and 400 per year.

** "Search for gravitational-wave inspiral signals associated with short Gamma-Ray Bursts during LIGO's fifth and Virgo's first science run".** Astrophys.J.715:1453-1461,2010
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**Abstract:**Progenitor scenarios for short gamma-ray bursts (short GRBs) include coalescenses of two neutron stars or a neutron star and black hole, which would necessarily be accompanied by the emission of strong gravitational waves. We present a search for these known gravitational-wave signatures in temporal and directional coincidence with 22 GRBs that had sufficient gravitational-wave data available in multiple instruments during LIGO's fifth science run, S5, and Virgo's first science run, VSR1. We find no statistically significant gravitational-wave candidates within a [-5, +1) s window around the trigger time of any GRB. Using the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney U test, we find no evidence for an excess of weak gravitational-wave signals in our sample of GRBs. We exclude neutron star-black hole progenitors to a median 90% CL exclusion distance of 6.7 Mpc.

** "The Effect of Eccentricity on Searches for Gravitational-Waves from Coalescing Compact Binaries in Ground-based Detectors".** Phys.Rev.D81:024007,2010
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**Abstract:**Inspiralling compact binaries are expected to circularize before their gravitational-wave signals reach the sensitive frequency band of ground-based detectors. Current searches for gravitational waves from compact binaries using the LIGO and Virgo detectors therefore use circular templates to construct matched filters. Binary formation models have been proposed which suggest that some systems detectable by the LIGO--Virgo network may have non-negligible eccentricity. We investigate the ability of the restricted 3.5 post-Newtonian order TaylorF2 template bank, used by LIGO and Virgo to search for gravitational waves from compact binaries with masses M≤35M⊙, to detect binaries with non-zero eccentricity. We model the gravitational waves from eccentric binaries using the x-model post-Newtonian formalism proposed by Hinder \emph{et. al.} [I. Hinder, F. Hermann, P. Laguna, and D. Shoemaker, arXiv:0806.1037v1]. We find that small residual eccentricities (e0≲0.05 at 40 Hz) do not significantly affect the ability of current LIGO searches to detect gravitational waves from coalescing compact binaries with total mass 2M⊙<M<15M⊙. For eccentricities e0≳0.1, the loss in matched filter signal-to-noise ratio due to eccentricity can be significant and so templates which include eccentric effects will be required to perform optimal searches for such systems.

** "Feasibility of measuring the Shapiro time delay over meter-scale distances".** Class. Quantum Grav. 27 185018 (2010)
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**Abstract:**The time delay of light as it passes by a massive object, first calculated by Shapiro in 1964, is a hallmark of the curvature of space-time. To date, all measurements of the Shapiro time delay have been made over solar-system distance scales. We show that the new generation of kilometer-scale laser interferometers being constructed as gravitational wave detectors, in particular Advanced LIGO, will in principle be sensitive enough to measure variations in the Shapiro time delay produced by a suitably designed rotating object placed near the laser beam. We show that such an apparatus is feasible (though not easy) to construct, present an example design, and calculate the signal that would be detectable by Advanced LIGO. This offers the first opportunity to measure space-time curvature effects on a laboratory distance scale.

** "Search for Gravitational Waves from Low Mass Compact Binary Coalescence in 186 Days of LIGO's fifth Science Run".** Phys.Rev.D80:047101,2009
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**Abstract:**We report on a search for gravitational waves from coalescing compact binaries, of total mass between 2 and 35 Msun, using LIGO observations between November 14, 2006 and May 18, 2007. No gravitational-wave signals were detected. We report upper limits on the rate of compact binary coalescence as a function of total mass. The LIGO cumulative 90%-confidence rate upper limits of the binary coalescence of neutron stars, black holes and black hole-neutron star systems are 1.4x10^-2, 7.3x10^-4 and 3.6x10^-3 yr^-1L_10^-1 respectively, where L_10 is 10^10 times the blue solar luminosity.

** “Probing the anisotropies of a stochastic gravitational-wave background using a network of ground-based laser interferometers”.** Phys. Rev. D 80, 122002 (2009)
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**Abstract:**We present a maximum-likelihood analysis for estimating the angular distribution of power in an anisotropic stochastic gravitational-wave background using ground-based laser interferometers. The standard isotropic and gravitational-wave radiometer searches (optimal for point sources) are recovered as special limiting cases. The angular distribution can be decomposed with respect to any set of basis functions on the sky, and the single-baseline, cross-correlation analysis is easily extended to a network of three or more detectors-that is, to multiple baselines. A spherical harmonic decomposition, which provides maximum-likelihood estimates of the multipole moments of the gravitational-wave sky, is described in detail. We also discuss: (i) the covariance matrix of the estimators and its relationship to the detector response of a network of interferometers, (ii) a singular-value decomposition method for regularizing the deconvolution of the detector response from the measured sky map, (iii) the expected increase in sensitivity obtained by including multiple baselines, and (iv) the numerical results of this method when applied to simulated data consisting of both point-like and di#use sources. Comparisions between this general method and the standard isotropic and radiometer searches are given throughout, to make contact with the existing literature on stochastic background searches.

** “An upper limit on the stochastic gravitational-wave background of cosmological origin”.** Nature 460 (2009) 990.
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**Abstract:**A stochastic background of gravitational waves is expected to arise from a superposition of a large number of unresolved gravitational-wave sources of astrophysical and cosmological origin. It is expected to carry unique signatures from the earliest epochs in the evolution of the universe, inaccessible to the standard astrophysical observations. Direct measurements of the amplitude of this background therefore are of fundamental importance for understanding the evolution of the universe when it was younger than one minute. Here we report direct limits on the amplitude of the stochastic gravitational-wave background using the data from a two-year science run of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). Our result constrains the energy density of the stochastic gravitational-wave background normalized by the critical energy density of the universe, in the frequency band around 100 Hz, to be less than 6.9 x 10^{-6} at 95% confidence. The data rule out models of early universe evolution with relatively large equation-of-state parameter, as well as cosmic (super)string models with relatively small string tension that are favoured in some string theory models. This search for the stochastic background improves upon the indirect limits from the Big Bang Nucleosynthesis and cosmic microwave background at 100 Hz.

** “Observation of a kilogram-scale oscillator near its quantum ground state”.** New J. Phys. 11 (2009) 073032.
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**Abstract:**We introduce a novel cooling technique capable of approaching the quantum ground state of a kilogram-scale system—an interferometric gravitational wave detector. The detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) operate within a factor of 10 of the standard quantum limit (SQL), providing a displacement sensitivity of 10−18 m in a 100 Hz band centered on 150 Hz. With a new feedback strategy, we dynamically shift the resonant frequency of a 2.7 kg pendulum mode to lie within this optimal band, where its effective temperature falls as low as 1.4 μK, and its occupation number reaches about 200 quanta. This work shows how the exquisite sensitivity necessary to detect gravitational waves can be made available to probe the validity of quantum mechanics on an enormous mass scale.

** “LIGO: The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory”.** Rep. Prog. Phys. 72 (2009) 076901
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**Abstract:**The goal of the Laser Interferometric Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is to detect and study gravitational waves of astrophysical origin. Direct detection of gravitational waves holds the promise of testing general relativity in the strong-field regime, of providing a new probe of exotic objects such as black hole and neutron stars, and of uncovering unanticipated new astrophysics. LIGO, a joint Caltech-MIT project supported by the National Science Foundation, operates three multi-kilometer interferometers at two widely separated sites in the United States. These detectors are the result of decades of worldwide technology development, design, construction, and commissioning. They are now operating at their design sensitivity, and are sensitive to gravitational wave strains smaller than 1 part in 1E21. With this unprecedented sensitivity, the data are being analyzed to detect or place limits on gravitational waves from a variety of potential astrophysical sources.

** “Optimal strategies for gravitational wave stochastic background searches in pulsar timing data”.** Phys. Rev. D 79, 084030 (2009)
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**Abstract:**A low frequency stochastic background of gravitational waves may be detected by pulsar timing experiments in the next five to ten years. Using methods developed to analyze interferometric gravitational wave data, in this paper we lay out the optimal techniques to detect a background of gravitational waves using a pulsar timing array. We show that for pulsar distances and gravitational wave frequencies typical of pulsar timing experiments, neglecting the effect of the metric perturbation at the pulsar does not result in a significant deviation from optimality. We discuss methods for setting upper limits using the optimal statistic, show how to construct skymaps using the pulsar timing array, and consider several issues associated with realistic analysis of pulsar timing data.

** " Search for gravitational wave ringdowns from perturbed black holes in LIGO S4 data".** 10.1103/PhysRevD.80.062001
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**Abstract:**According to general relativity a perturbed black hole will settle to a stationary configuration by the emission of gravitational radiation. Such a perturbation will occur, for example, in the coalescence of a black hole binary, following their inspiral and subsequent merger. At late times the waveform is a superposition of quasi-normal modes, which we refer to as the ringdown. The dominant mode is expected to be the fundamental mode, l=m=2. Since this is a well-known waveform, matched filtering can be implemented to search for this signal using LIGO data. We present a search for gravitational waves from black hole ringdowns in the fourth LIGO science run S4, during which LIGO was sensitive to the dominant mode of perturbed black holes with masses in the range of 10 Msun to 500 Msun, the regime of intermediate-mass black holes, to distances up to 300 Mpc. We present a search for gravitational waves from black hole ringdowns using data from S4. No gravitational wave candidates were found; we place a 90%-confidence upper limit on the rate of ringdowns from black holes with mass between 85 Msun and 390 Msun in the local universe, assuming a uniform distribution of sources, of 3.2 x 10^{-5} yr^{-1} Mpc^{-3} = 1.6 x 10^{-3}yr^{-1} L_{10}^{-1}, where L_{10} is 10^{10} times the solar blue-light luminosity.

** "Testing gravitational-wave searches with numerical relativity waveforms: Results from the first Numerical INJection Analysis (NINJA) project".** Class.Quant.Grav.26:165008,2009
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**Abstract:**The Numerical INJection Analysis (NINJA) project is a collaborative effort between members of the numerical relativity and gravitational-wave data analysis communities. The purpose of NINJA is to study the sensitivity of existing gravitational-wave search algorithms using numerically generated waveforms and to foster closer collaboration between the numerical relativity and data analysis communities. We describe the results of the first NINJA analysis which focused on gravitational waveforms from binary black hole coalescence. Ten numerical relativity groups contributed numerical data which were used to generate a set of gravitational-wave signals. These signals were injected into a simulated data set, designed to mimic the response of the Initial LIGO and Virgo gravitational-wave detectors. Nine groups analysed this data using search and parameter-estimation pipelines. Matched filter algorithms, un-modelled-burst searches and Bayesian parameter-estimation and model-selection algorithms were applied to the data. We report the efficiency of these search methods in detecting the numerical waveforms and measuring their parameters. We describe preliminary comparisons between the different search methods and suggest improvements for future NINJA analyses.

** "Template banks to search for compact binaries with spinning components in gravitational wave data".** Phys.Rev.D80:024009,2009
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**Abstract:**Gravitational waves from coalescing compact binaries are one of the most promising sources for detectors such as LIGO, Virgo and GEO600. If the components of the binary posess significant angular momentum (spin), as is likely to be the case if one component is a black hole, spin-induced precession of a binary's orbital plane causes modulation of the gravitational-wave amplitude and phase. If the templates used in a matched-filter search do not accurately model these effects then the sensitivity, and hence the detection rate, will be reduced. We investigate the ability of several search pipelines to detect gravitational waves from compact binaries with spin. We use the post-Newtonian approximation to model the inspiral phase of the signal and construct two new template banks using the phenomenological waveforms of Buonanno, Chen and Vallisneri. We compare the performance of these template banks to that of banks constructed using the stationary phase approximation to the non-spinning post-Newtonian inspiral waveform currently used by LIGO and Virgo in the search for compact binary coalescence. We find that, at the same false alarm rate, a search pipeline using phenomenological templates is no more effective than a pipeline which uses non-spinning templates. We recommend the continued use of the non-spinning stationary phase template bank until the false alarm rate associated with templates which include spin effects can be substantially reduced.

** "Comparison of high-accuracy numerical simulations of black-hole binaries with stationary phase post-Newtonian template waveforms for Initial and Advanced LIGO".** Class.Quant.Grav.26:114006,2009
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**Abstract:**We study the effectiveness of stationary-phase approximated post-Newtonian waveforms currently used by ground-based gravitational-wave detectors to search for the coalescence of binary black holes by comparing them to an accurate waveform obtained from numerical simulation of an equal-mass non-spinning binary black hole inspiral, merger and ringdown. We perform this study for the Initial- and Advanced-LIGO detectors. We find that overlaps between the templates and signal can be improved by integrating the match filter to higher frequencies than used currently. We propose simple analytic frequency cutoffs for both Initial and Advanced LIGO, which achieve nearly optimal matches, and can easily be extended to unequal-mass, spinning systems. We also find that templates that include terms in the phase evolution up to 3.5 pN order are nearly always better, and rarely significantly worse, than 2.0 pN templates currently in use. For Initial LIGO we recommend a strategy using templates that include a recently introduced pseudo-4.0 pN term in the low-mass ($M \leq 35 \MSun$) region, and 3.5 pN templates allowing unphysical values of the symmetric reduced mass η above this. This strategy always achieves overlaps within 0.3% of the optimum, for the data used here. For Advanced LIGO we recommend a strategy using 3.5 pN templates up to $M=12 \MSun$, 2.0 pN templates up to $M=21 \MSun$, pseudo-4.0 pN templates up to $65 \MSun$, and 3.5 pN templates with unphysical η for higher masses. This strategy always achieves overlaps within 0.7% of the optimum for Advanced LIGO

** "Status of NINJA: the Numerical INJection Analysis project".** Class.Quant.Grav.26:114008,2009
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**Abstract:**The 2008 NRDA conference introduced the Numerical INJection Analysis project (NINJA), a new collaborative effort between the numerical relativity community and the data analysis community. NINJA focuses on modeling and searching for gravitational wave signatures from the coalescence of binary system of compact objects. We review the scope of this collaboration and the components of the first NINJA project, where numerical relativity groups shared waveforms and data analysis teams applied various techniques to detect them when embedded in colored Gaussian noise.

** "Search for Gravitational Waves from Low Mass Binary Coalescences in the First Year of LIGO's S5 Data".** 10.1103/PhysRevD.79.122001
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**Abstract:**We have searched for gravitational waves from coalescing low mass compact binary systems with a total mass between 2 and 35 Msun and a minimum component mass of 1 Msun using data from the first year of the fifth science run (S5) of the three LIGO detectors, operating at design sensitivity. Depending on mass, we are sensitive to coalescences as far as 150 Mpc from the Earth. No gravitational wave signals were observed above the expected background. Assuming a compact binary objects population with a Gaussian mass distribution representing binary neutron star systems, black hole-neutron star binary systems, and binary black hole systems, we calculate the 90%-confidence upper limit on the rate of coalescences to be 3.9 \times 10^{-2} yr^{-1} L_{10}^{-1}, 1.1 \times 10^{-2} yr^{-1} L_{10}^{-1}, and 2.5 \times 10^{-3} yr^{-1} L_{10}^{-1} respectively, where L10 is 1010 times the blue solar luminosity. We also set improved upper limits on the rate of compact binary coalescences per unit blue-light luminosity, as a function of mass.

** "LIGO: The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory".** Rept.Prog.Phys.72:076901,2009
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**Abstract:**The goal of the Laser Interferometric Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is to detect and study gravitational waves of astrophysical origin. Direct detection of gravitational waves holds the promise of testing general relativity in the strong-field regime, of providing a new probe of exotic objects such as black hole and neutron stars, and of uncovering unanticipated new astrophysics. LIGO, a joint Caltech-MIT project supported by the National Science Foundation, operates three multi-kilometer interferometers at two widely separated sites in the United States. These detectors are the result of decades of worldwide technology development, design, construction, and commissioning. They are now operating at their design sensitivity, and are sensitive to gravitational wave strains smaller than 1 part in 1E21. With this unprecedented sensitivity, the data are being analyzed to detect or place limits on gravitational waves from a variety of potential astrophysical sources.

** "Model Waveform Accuracy Standards for Gravitational Wave Data Analysis".** Phys.Rev.D78:124020,2008
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**Abstract:**Model waveforms are used in gravitational wave data analysis to detect and then to measure the properties of a source by matching the model waveforms to the signal from a detector. This paper derives accuracy standards for model waveforms which are sufficient to ensure that these data analysis applications are capable of extracting the full scientific content of the data, but without demanding excessive accuracy that would place undue burdens on the model waveform simulation community. These accuracy standards are intended primarily for broad-band model waveforms produced by numerical simulations, but the standards are quite general and apply equally to such waveforms produced by analytical or hybrid analytical-numerical methods.

** “Thermo-optic noise in coated mirrors for high-precision optical measurements”.** Phys. Rev. D 78, 102003 (2008)
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**Abstract:**Thermal fluctuations in the coatings used to make high-reflectors are becoming significant noise sources in precision optical measurements and are particularly relevant to advanced gravitational wave detectors. There are two recognized sources of coating thermal noise, mechanical loss and thermal dissipation. Thermal dissipation causes thermal fluctuations in the coating which produce noise via the thermo-elastic and thermo-refractive mechanisms. We treat these mechanisms coherently, give a correction for finite coating thickness, and evaluate the implications for Advanced LIGO.

** “Gravitational wave radiometry: Mapping a stochastic gravitational wave background”.** Phys. Rev. D 77, 042002 (2008).
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**Abstract:**The problem of the detection and mapping of a stochastic gravitational wave background (SGWB), either of cosmological or astrophysical origin, bears a strong semblance to the analysis of CMB anisotropy and polarization. The basic statistic we use is the cross-correlation between the data from a pair of detectors. In order to `point' the pair of detectors at different locations one must suitably delay the signal by the amount it takes for the gravitational waves (GW) to travel to both detectors corresponding to a source direction. Then the raw (observed) sky map of the SGWB is the signal convolved with a beam response function that varies with location in the sky. We first present a thorough analytic understanding of the structure of the beam response function using an analytic approach employing the stationary phase approximation. The true sky map is obtained by numerically deconvolving the beam function in the integral (convolution) equation. We adopt the maximum likelihood framework to estimate the true sky map that has been successfully used in the broadly similar, well-studied CMB map making problem. We numerically implement and demonstrate the method on simulated (unpolarized) SGWB for the radiometer consisting of the LIGO pair of detectors at Hanford and Livingston. We include `realistic' additive Gaussian noise in each data stream based on the LIGO-I noise power spectral density. The extension of the method to multiple baselines and polarized GWB is outlined. In the near future the network of GW detectors, including the Advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors that will be sensitive to sources within a thousand times larger spatial volume, could provide promising data sets for GW radiometry.

** " Rates and Characteristics of Intermediate Mass Ratio Inspirals Detectable by Advanced LIGO".** Astrophys.J.681:1431-1447,2008
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**Abstract:**We report on the methods and results of the first dedicated search for gravitational waves emitted during the inspiral of compact binaries with spinning component bodies. We analyze 788 hours of data collected during the third science run (S3) of the LIGO detectors. We searched for binary systems using a detection template family designed specially to capture the effects of the spin-induced precession of the orbital plane. We present details of the techniques developed to enable this search for spin-modulated gravitational waves, highlighting the differences between this and other recent searches for binaries with non-spinning components. The template bank we employed was found to yield high matches with our spin-modulated target waveform for binaries with masses in the asymmetric range 1.0 Msol < m1 < 3.0 Msol and 12.0 Msol < m2 < 20.0 Msol which is where we would expect the spin of the binary's components to have significant effect. We find that our search of S3 LIGO data had good sensitivity to binaries in the Milky Way and to a small fraction of binaries in M31 and M33 with masses in the range 1.0 Msol < m1, m2 < 20.0 Msol. No gravitational wave signals were identified during this search. Assuming a binary population with spinning components and Gaussian distribution of masses representing a prototypical neutron star - black hole system with m1 ~ 1.35 Msol and m2 ~ 5 Msol, we calculate the 90%-confidence upper limit on the rate of coalescence of these systems to be 15.9 yr^-1 L_10^-1, where L_10 is 10^10 times the blue light luminosity of the Sun.

** "Search of S3 LIGO data for gravitational wave signals from spinning black hole and neutron star binary inspirals".** 10.1103/PhysRevD.78.042002
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**Abstract:**The Mock LISA Data Challenges are a program to demonstrate LISA data-analysis capabilities and to encourage their development. Each round of challenges consists of several data sets containing simulated instrument noise and gravitational-wave sources of undisclosed parameters. Participants are asked to analyze the data sets and report the maximum information about source parameters. The challenges are being released in rounds of increasing complexity and realism: in this proceeding we present the results of Challenge 2, issued in January 2007, which successfully demonstrated the recovery of signals from supermassive black-hole binaries, from ~20,000 overlapping Galactic white-dwarf binaries, and from the extreme-mass-ratio inspirals of compact objects into central galactic black holes.

** "Report on the second Mock LISA Data Challenge".** Class.Quant.Grav.25:114037,2008
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**Abstract:**We report on a search for gravitational waves from the coalescence of compact binaries during the third and fourth LIGO science runs. The search focused on gravitational waves generated during the inspiral phase of the binary evolution. In our analysis, we considered three categories of compact binary systems, ordered by mass: (i) primordial black hole binaries with masses in the range 0.35 M(sun) < m1, m2 < 1.0 M(sun), (ii) binary neutron stars with masses in the range 1.0 M(sun) < m1, m2 < 3.0 M(sun), and (iii) binary black holes with masses in the range 3.0 M(sun)< m1, m2 < m_(max) with the additional constraint m1+ m2 < m_(max), where m_(max) was set to 40.0 M(sun) and 80.0 M(sun) in the third and fourth science runs, respectively. Although the detectors could probe to distances as far as tens of Mpc, no gravitational-wave signals were identified in the 1364 hours of data we analyzed. Assuming a binary population with a Gaussian distribution around 0.75-0.75 M(sun), 1.4-1.4 M(sun), and 5.0-5.0 M(sun), we derived 90%-confidence upper limit rates of 4.9 yr^(-1) L10^(-1) for primordial black hole binaries, 1.2 yr^(-1) L10^(-1) for binary neutron stars, and 0.5 yr^(-1) L10^(-1) for stellar mass binary black holes, where L10 is 10^(10) times the blue light luminosity of the Sun.

** "Search for gravitational waves from binary inspirals in S3 and S4 LIGO data".** 10.1103/PhysRevD.77.062002
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**Abstract:**We analyzed the available LIGO data coincident with GRB 070201, a short duration hard spectrum gamma-ray burst whose electromagnetically determined sky position is coincident with the spiral arms of the Andromeda galaxy (M31). Possible progenitors of such short hard GRBs include mergers of neutron stars or a neutron star and black hole, or soft gamma-ray repeater (SGR) flares. These events can be accompanied by gravitational-wave emission. No plausible gravitational wave candidates were found within a 180 s long window around the time of GRB 070201. This result implies that a compact binary progenitor of GRB 070201, with masses in the range 1 M_sun < m_1 < 3 M_sun and 1 M_sun < m_2 < 40 M_sun, located in M31 is excluded at >99% confidence. Indeed, if GRB 070201 were caused by a binary neutron star merger, we find that D < 3.5 Mpc is excluded, assuming random inclination, at 90% confidence. The result also implies that an unmodeled gravitational wave burst from GRB 070201 most probably emitted less than 4.4 x 10^(-4) M_sun c^2 (7.9 x 10^(50) ergs) in any 100 ms long period within the signal region if the source was in M31 and radiated isotropically at the same frequency as LIGO's peak sensitivity (f ~ 150 Hz). This upper limit does not exclude current models of SGRs at the M31 distance.

** "Implications for the Origin of GRB 070201 from LIGO Observations".** Astrophys.J.681:1419-1428,2008
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**Abstract:**Presented in this paper is a detailed and direct comparison of the LIGO and Virgo binary neutron star detection pipelines. In order to test the search programs, numerous inspiral signals were added to 24 hours of simulated detector data. The efficiencies of the different pipelines were tested, and found to be comparable. Parameter estimation routines were also tested. We demonstrate that there are definite benefits to be had if LIGO and Virgo conduct a joint coincident analysis; these advantages include increased detection efficiency and the providing of source sky location information.

** "Detailed comparison of LIGO and Virgo Inspiral Pipelines in Preparation for a Joint Search".** Class.Quant.Grav.25:045001,2008
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**Abstract:**Numerical simulations of 15 orbits of an equal-mass binary black hole system are presented. Gravitational waveforms from these simulations, covering more than 30 cycles and ending about 1.5 cycles before merger, are compared with those from quasi-circular zero-spin post-Newtonian (PN) formulae. The cumulative phase uncertainty of these comparisons is about 0.05 radians, dominated by effects arising from the small residual spins of the black holes and the small residual orbital eccentricity in the simulations. Matching numerical results to PN waveforms early in the run yields excellent agreement (within 0.05 radians) over the first ∼15 cycles, thus validating the numerical simulation and establishing a regime where PN theory is accurate. In the last 15 cycles to merger, however, {\em generic} time-domain Taylor approximants build up phase differences of several radians. But, apparently by coincidence, one specific post-Newtonian approximant, TaylorT4 at 3.5PN order, agrees much better with the numerical simulations, with accumulated phase differences of less than 0.05 radians over the 30-cycle waveform. Gravitational-wave amplitude comparisons are also done between numerical simulations and post-Newtonian, and the agreement depends on the post-Newtonian order of the amplitude expansion: the amplitude difference is about 6--7% for zeroth order and becomes smaller for increasing order. A newly derived 3.0PN amplitude correction improves agreement significantly (<1 amplitude difference throughout most of the run, increasing to 4% near merger) over the previously known 2.5PN amplitude terms.

** "High-accuracy comparison of numerical relativity simulations with post-Newtonian expansions".** Phys.Rev.D76:124038,2007
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**Abstract:**Gravitational waves from the inspiral and coalescence of supermassive black-hole (SMBH) binaries with masses ~10^6 Msun are likely to be among the strongest sources for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). We describe a three-stage data-analysis pipeline designed to search for and measure the parameters of SMBH binaries in LISA data. The first stage uses a time-frequency track-search method to search for inspiral signals and provide a coarse estimate of the black-hole masses m_1, m_2 and of the coalescence time of the binary t_c. The second stage uses a sequence of matched-filter template banks, seeded by the first stage, to improve the measurement accuracy of the masses and coalescence time. Finally, a Markov Chain Monte Carlo search is used to estimate all nine physical parameters of the binary. Using results from the second stage substantially shortens the Markov Chain burn-in time and allows us to determine the number of SMBH-binary signals in the data before starting parameter estimation. We demonstrate our analysis pipeline using simulated data from the first LISA Mock Data Challenge. We discuss our plan for improving this pipeline and the challenges that will be faced in real LISA data analysis.

** "A Three-Stage Search for Supermassive Black Hole Binaries in LISA Data".** Class.Quant.Grav.24:S595-S606,2007
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**Abstract:**The Mock LISA Data Challenges (MLDCs) have the dual purpose of fostering the development of LISA data analysis tools and capabilities, and demonstrating the technical readiness already achieved by the gravitational-wave community in distilling a rich science payoff from the LISA data output. The first round of MLDCs has just been completed: nine data sets containing simulated gravitational wave signals produced either by galactic binaries or massive black hole binaries embedded in simulated LISA instrumental noise were released in June 2006 with deadline for submission of results at the beginning of December 2006. Ten groups have participated in this first round of challenges. Here we describe the challenges, summarise the results, and provide a first critical assessment of the entries.

** "Report on the first round of the Mock LISA Data Challenges".** Class.Quant.Grav.24:S529-S540,2007
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**Abstract:**Binary black hole simulations starting from quasi-circular (i.e., zero radial velocity) initial data have orbits with small but non-zero orbital eccentricities. In this paper the quasi-equilibrium initial-data method is extended to allow non-zero radial velocities to be specified in binary black hole initial data. New low-eccentricity initial data are obtained by adjusting the orbital frequency and radial velocities to minimize the orbital eccentricity, and the resulting (∼5 orbit) evolutions are compared with those of quasi-circular initial data. Evolutions of the quasi-circular data clearly show eccentric orbits, with eccentricity that decays over time. The precise decay rate depends on the definition of eccentricity; if defined in terms of variations in the orbital frequency, the decay rate agrees well with the prediction of Peters (1964). The gravitational waveforms, which contain ∼8 cycles in the dominant l=m=2 mode, are largely unaffected by the eccentricity of the quasi-circular initial data. The overlap between the dominant mode in the quasi-circular evolution and the same mode in the low-eccentricity evolution is about 0.99.

** "Reducing orbital eccentricity in binary black hole simulations".** Class.Quant.Grav.24:S59-S82,2007
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**Abstract:**We report on a search for gravitational waves from binary black hole inspirals in the data from the second science run of the LIGO interferometers. The search focused on binary systems with component masses between 3 and 20 solar masses. Optimally oriented binaries with distances up to 1 Mpc could be detected with efficiency of at least 90%. We found no events that could be identified as gravitational waves in the 385.6 hours of data that we searched.

** “Upper limit map of a background of gravitational waves”.** Phys. Rev. D 76, 082003 (2007)
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**Abstract:**The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) has performed a third science run with much improved sensitivities of all three interferometers. We present an analysis of approximately 200 hours of data acquired during this run, used to search for a stochastic background of gravitational radiation. We place upper bounds on the energy density stored as gravitational radiation for three different spectral power laws. For the flat spectrum, our limit of Omega_0<8.4e-4 in the 69-156 Hz band is ~10^5 times lower than the previous result in this frequency range.

** “Searching for a Stochastic Background of Gravitational Waves with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory”.** Astrophys. J. 659 (2007) 918.
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**Abstract:**The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) has performed the fourth science run, S4, with significantly improved interferometer sensitivities with respect to previous runs. Using data acquired during this science run, we place a limit on the amplitude of a stochastic background of gravitational waves. For a frequency independent spectrum, the new limit is ΩGW<6.5×10−5. This is currently the most sensitive result in the frequency range 51-150 Hz, with a factor of 13 improvement over the previous LIGO result. We discuss complementarity of the new result with other constraints on a stochastic background of gravitational waves, and we investigate implications of the new result for different models of this background.

** “First cross-correlation analysis of interferometric and resonant-bar gravitational-wave data for stochastic backgrounds”.** Phys. Rev. D 76, 022001 (2007)
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**Abstract:**Data from the LIGO Livingston interferometer and the ALLEGRO resonant bar detector, taken during LIGO's fourth science run, were examined for cross-correlations indicative of a stochastic gravitational-wave background in the frequency range 850-950 Hz, with most of the sensitivity arising between 905 Hz and 925 Hz. ALLEGRO was operated in three different orientations during the experiment to modulate the relative sign of gravitational-wave and environmental correlations. No statistically significant correlations were seen in any of the orientations, and the results were used to set a Bayesian 90% confidence level upper limit of Omega_gw(f) <= 1.02, which corresponds to a gravitational wave strain at 915 Hz of 1.5e-23/rHz. In the traditional units of h_100^2 Omega_gw(f), this is a limit of 0.53, two orders of magnitude better than the previous direct limit at these frequencies. The method was also validated with successful extraction of simulated signals injected in hardware and software.

** "Search for gravitational waves from binary black hole inspirals in LIGO data".** Phys.Rev.D73:062001,2006
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**Abstract:**The INSPIRAL program is the LIGO Scientific Collaboration's computational engine for the search for gravitational waves from binary neutron stars and sub-solar mass black holes. We describe how this program, which makes use of the FINDCHIRP algorithm (discussed in a companion paper), is integrated into a sophisticated data analysis pipeline that was used in the search for low-mass binary inspirals in data taken during the second LIGO science run.

** “A Radiometer for Stochastic Gravitational Waves”.** Class. Quantum Grav. 23:S179-S185 (2006)
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**Abstract:**The LIGO Scientific Collaboration recently reported a new upper limit on an isotropic stochastic background of gravitational waves obtained based on the data from the 3rd LIGO science Run (S3). Now I present a new method for obtaining directional upper limits that the LIGO Scientific Collaboration intends to use for future LIGO science runs and that essentially implements a gravitational wave radiometer.

** “In-situ measurement of absorption in high power interferometers using beam diameter measurements”.** Opt. Lett. 31(4):450- 452 (2006).
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**Abstract:**We present a simple technique to make in situ measurements of the absorption in the optics of high-power laser interferometers. The measurement is particularly useful to those commissioning large-scale high power optical systems.

** "Using the INSPIRAL program to search for gravitational waves from low-mass binary inspiral".** Class.Quant.Grav. 22 (2005) S1097-S1108
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**Abstract:**The time delay of light as it passes by a massive object, first calculated by Shapiro in 1964, is a hallmark of the curvature of space-time. To date, all measurements of the Shapiro time delay have been made over solar-system distance scales. We show that the new generation of kilometer-scale laser interferometers being constructed as gravitational wave detectors, in particular Advanced LIGO, will in principle be sensitive enough to measure variations in the Shapiro time delay produced by a suitably designed rotating object placed near the laser beam. We show that such an apparatus is feasible (though not easy) to construct, present an example design, and calculate the signal that would be detectable by Advanced LIGO. This offers the first opportunity to measure space-time curvature effects on a laboratory distance scale.

** “Upper Limits on a Stochastic Background of Gravitational Waves”.** Phys. Rev. Lett 95, 221101 (2005)
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**Abstract:**The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) has performed a third science run with much improved sensitivities of all three interferometers. We present an analysis of approximately 200 hours of data acquired during this run, used to search for a stochastic background of gravitational radiation. We place upper bounds on the energy density stored as gravitational radiation for three different spectral power laws. For the flat spectrum, our limit of Omega_0<8.4e-4 in the 69-156 Hz band is ~10^5 times lower than the previous result in this frequency range.

** “For how long will gravitational waves remain hidden?”.** Phys. Lett. A, 347(1-3): 33-37 (2005)
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**Abstract:**The Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO) is a network of first generation interferometric detectors aiming to make the first direct observations of gravitational waves. Progress in the commissioning of the detectors has brought them within a factor of two of their design sensitivity near 150 Hz during the most recent science run of the instruments in March of 2005. Further improvements took place in the instruments since then and operating them at design sensitivity together with high duty cycle is expected by the end of 2005. This Letter surveys the status of the LIGO instruments and discusses results and prospects of direct detections of gravitational waves bursts.

** "Feasibility of measuring the Shapiro time delay over meter-scale distances".** Class.Quant.Grav.27:185018,2010
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**Abstract:**We present a maximum-likelihood analysis for estimating the angular distribution of power in an anisotropic stochastic gravitational-wave background using ground-based laser interferometers. The standard isotropic and gravitational-wave radiometer searches (optimal for point sources) are recovered as special limiting cases. The angular distribution can be decomposed with respect to any set of basis functions on the sky, and the single-baseline, cross-correlation analysis is easily extended to a network of three or more detectors-that is, to multiple baselines. A spherical harmonic decomposition, which provides maximum-likelihood estimates of the multipole moments of the gravitational-wave sky, is described in detail. We also discuss: (i) the covariance matrix of the estimators and its relationship to the detector response of a network of interferometers, (ii) a singular-value decomposition method for regularizing the deconvolution of the detector response from the measured sky map, (iii) the expected increase in sensitivity obtained by including multiple baselines, and (iv) the numerical results of this method when applied to simulated data consisting of both point-like and di#use sources. Comparisions between this general method and the standard isotropic and radiometer searches are given throughout, to make contact with the existing literature on stochastic background searches.

** "Probing the anisotropies of a stochastic gravitational-wave background using a network of ground-based laser interferometers".** Phys. Rev. D 80, 122002 (2009)
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**Abstract:**A low frequency stochastic background of gravitational waves may be detected by pulsar timing experiments in the next five to ten years. Using methods developed to analyze interferometric gravitational wave data, in this paper we lay out the optimal techniques to detect a background of gravitational waves using a pulsar timing array. We show that for pulsar distances and gravitational wave frequencies typical of pulsar timing experiments, neglecting the effect of the metric perturbation at the pulsar does not result in a significant deviation from optimality. We discuss methods for setting upper limits using the optimal statistic, show how to construct skymaps using the pulsar timing array, and consider several issues associated with realistic analysis of pulsar timing data.

** "Optimal strategies for gravitational wave stochastic background searches in pulsar timing data".** 10.1103/PhysRevD.79.084030
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**Abstract:**Thermal fluctuations in the coatings used to make high-reflectors are becoming significant noise sources in precision optical measurements and are particularly relevant to advanced gravitational wave detectors. There are two recognized sources of coating thermal noise, mechanical loss and thermal dissipation. Thermal dissipation causes thermal fluctuations in the coating which produce noise via the thermo-elastic and thermo-refractive mechanisms. We treat these mechanisms coherently, give a correction for finite coating thickness, and evaluate the implications for Advanced LIGO.

** "Thermo-optic noise in coated mirrors for high-precision optical measurements".** Phys.Rev.D78:102003,2008
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**Abstract:**The problem of the detection and mapping of a stochastic gravitational wave background (SGWB), either of cosmological or astrophysical origin, bears a strong semblance to the analysis of CMB anisotropy and polarization. The basic statistic we use is the cross-correlation between the data from a pair of detectors. In order to `point' the pair of detectors at different locations one must suitably delay the signal by the amount it takes for the gravitational waves (GW) to travel to both detectors corresponding to a source direction. Then the raw (observed) sky map of the SGWB is the signal convolved with a beam response function that varies with location in the sky. We first present a thorough analytic understanding of the structure of the beam response function using an analytic approach employing the stationary phase approximation. The true sky map is obtained by numerically deconvolving the beam function in the integral (convolution) equation. We adopt the maximum likelihood framework to estimate the true sky map that has been successfully used in the broadly similar, well-studied CMB map making problem. We numerically implement and demonstrate the method on simulated (unpolarized) SGWB for the radiometer consisting of the LIGO pair of detectors at Hanford and Livingston. We include `realistic' additive Gaussian noise in each data stream based on the LIGO-I noise power spectral density. The extension of the method to multiple baselines and polarized GWB is outlined. In the near future the network of GW detectors, including the Advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors that will be sensitive to sources within a thousand times larger spatial volume, could provide promising data sets for GW radiometry.

** "Gravitational wave radiometry: Mapping a stochastic gravitational wave background".** Phys.Rev.D77:042002,2008
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(2012)** "Methods of Improving Thermal Noise".** Chapter 6 of Optical Coatings and Thermal Noise in Precision Measurement Harry, Bodiya, DeSalvo

** Book chapter "Controlling non-fundamental noise sources in gravitational-wave interferometers".** in Advanced Interferometric Gravitational-wave Detectors Peter Saulson, David Reitze.

** “Analysis of first LIGO science data for stochastic gravitational wave”.** Physical Review D 69, 122004, (2004)
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**Abstract:**We present the analysis of between 50 and 100 hrs of coincident interferometric strain data used to search for and establish an upper limit on a stochastic background of gravitational radiation. These data come from the first LIGO science run, during which all three LIGO interferometers were operated over a 2-week period spanning August and September of 2002. The method of cross-correlating the outputs of two interferometers is used for analysis. We describe in detail practical signal processing issues that arise when working with real data, and we establish an observational upper limit on a f^{-3} power spectrum of gravitational waves. Our 90% confidence limit is Omega_0 h_{100}^2 < 23 in the frequency band 40 to 314 Hz, where h_{100} is the Hubble constant in units of 100 km/sec/Mpc and Omega_0 is the gravitational wave energy density per logarithmic frequency interval in units of the closure density. This limit is approximately 10^4 times better than the previous, broadband direct limit using interferometric detectors, and nearly 3 times better than the best narrow-band bar detector limit. As LIGO and other worldwide detectors improve in sensitivity and attain their design goals, the analysis procedures described here should lead to stochastic background sensitivity levels of astrophysical interest.