European Pulsar Timing Array Limits on Continuous Gravitational Waves from Individual Supermassive Black Hole Binaries

Stanislav Babak, Antoine Petiteau, Alberto Sesana, Patrick Brem, Pablo A. Rosado, Stephen R. Taylor, Antoine Lassus, Jason W. T. Hessels, Cees G. Bassa, Marta Burgay, R. Nicolas Caballero, David J. Champion, Ismael Cognard, Gregory Desvignes, Jonathan R. Gair, Lucas Guillemot, Gemma H. Janssen, Ramesh Karuppusamy, Michael Kramer, Patrick LazarusK. J. Lee, Lindley Lentati, Kuo Liu, Chiara M. F. Mingarelli, Stefan Oslowski, Delphine Perrodin, Andrea Possenti, Mark B. Purver, Sotiris Sanidas, Roy Smits, Ben Stappers, Gilles Theureau, Caterina Tiburzi, Rutger van Haasteren, Alberto Vecchio, Joris P. W. Verbiest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)


We have searched for continuous gravitational wave (CGW) signals produced by individually resolvable, circular supermassive black hole binaries (SMBHBs) in the latest EPTA dataset, which consists of ultra-precise timing data on 41 millisecond pulsars. We develop frequentist and Bayesian detection algorithms to search both for monochromatic and frequency-evolving systems. None of the adopted algorithms show evidence for the presence of such a CGW signal, indicating that the data are best described by pulsar and radiometer noise only. Depending on the adopted detection algorithm, the 95\% upper limit on the sky-averaged strain amplitude lies in the range $6\times 10^{-15}10^9$M$_\odot$ out to a distance of about 25Mpc, and with $\cal{M}_c>10^{10}$M$_\odot$ out to a distance of about 1Gpc ($z\approx0.2$). We show that state-of-the-art SMBHB population models predict $
Original languageEnglish
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Early online date17 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

16 pages, 11 figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS


  • astro-ph.CO
  • astro-ph.GA
  • astro-ph.IM
  • gr-qc


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