Simple model of complete precessing black-hole-binary gravitational waveforms

Mark Hannam, Patricia Schmidt, Alejandro Bohé, Leïla Haegel, Sascha Husa, Frank Ohme, Geraint Pratten, Michael Pürrer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

314 Citations (Scopus)


The construction of a model of the gravitational-wave (GW) signal from generic configurations of spinning-black-hole binaries, through inspiral, merger, and ringdown, is one of the most pressing theoretical problems in the buildup to the era of GW astronomy. We present the first such model in the frequency domain, PhenomP, which captures the basic phenomenology of the seven-dimensional parameter space of binary configurations with only three key physical parameters. Two of these (the binary’s mass ratio and an effective total spin parallel to the orbital angular momentum, which determines the inspiral rate) define an underlying nonprecessing-binary model. The nonprecessing-binary waveforms are then twisted up with approximate expressions for the precessional motion, which require only one additional physical parameter, an effective precession spin, χp. All other parameters (total mass, sky location, orientation and polarization, and initial phase) can be specified trivially. The model is constructed in the frequency domain, which will be essential for efficient GW searches and source measurements. We have tested the model’s fidelity for GW applications by comparison against hybrid post-Newtonian-numerical-relativity waveforms at a variety of configurations—although we did not use these numerical simulations in the construction of the model. Our model can be used to develop GW searches, to study the implications for astrophysical measurements, and as a simple conceptual framework to form the basis of generic-binary waveform modeling in the advanced-detector era.
Original languageEnglish
Article number151101
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Simple model of complete precessing black-hole-binary gravitational waveforms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this