Detectability of gravitational waves from high-redshift binaries

Pablo A. Rosado, Paul D. Lasky, Eric Thrane, Xingjiang Zhu, Ilya Mandel, Alberto Sesana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Recent nondetection of gravitational-wave backgrounds from pulsar timing arrays casts further uncertainty on the evolution of supermassive black hole binaries. We study the capabilities of current gravitational-wave observatories to detect individual binaries and demonstrate that, contrary to conventional wisdom, some are, in principle, detectable throughout the Universe. In particular, a binary with rest-frame mass ≳1010Mcan be detected by current timing arrays at arbitrarily high redshifts. The same claim will apply for less massive binaries with more sensitive future arrays. As a consequence, future searches for nanohertz gravitational waves could be expanded to target evolving high-redshift binaries. We calculate the maximum distance at which binaries can be observed with pulsar timing arrays and other detectors, properly accounting for redshift and using realistic binary waveforms.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101102
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2016


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