TY - JOUR

T1 - Towards models of gravitational waveforms from generic binaries II

T2 - modelling precession effects with a single effective precession parameter

AU - Schmidt, Patricia

AU - Ohme, Frank

AU - Hannam, Mark

PY - 2015/1/29

Y1 - 2015/1/29

N2 - Gravitational waves (GWs) emitted by generic black-hole binaries show a rich structure that directly reflects the complex dynamics introduced by the precession of the orbital plane, which poses a real challenge to the development of generic waveform models. Recent progress in modelling these signals relies on an approximate decoupling between the nonprecessing secular inspiral and a precession-induced rotation. However, the latter depends in general on all physical parameters of the binary which makes modelling efforts as well as understanding parameter-estimation prospects prohibitively complex. Here we show that the dominant precession effects can be captured by a reduced set of spin parameters. Specifically, we introduce a single effective precession spin parameter, χp, which is defined from the spin components that lie in the orbital plane at some (arbitrary) instant during the inspiral. We test the efficacy of this parameter by considering binary inspiral configurations specified by the physical parameters of a corresponding nonprecessing-binary configuration (total mass, mass ratio, and spin components (anti)parallel to the orbital angular momentum), plus the effective precession spin applied to the larger black hole. We show that for an overwhelming majority of random precessing configurations, the precession dynamics during the inspiral are well approximated by our equivalent configurations. Our results suggest that in the comparable-mass regime waveform models with only three spin parameters faithfully represent generic waveforms, which has practical implications for the prospects of GW searches, parameter estimation and the numerical exploration of the precessing-binary parameter space.

AB - Gravitational waves (GWs) emitted by generic black-hole binaries show a rich structure that directly reflects the complex dynamics introduced by the precession of the orbital plane, which poses a real challenge to the development of generic waveform models. Recent progress in modelling these signals relies on an approximate decoupling between the nonprecessing secular inspiral and a precession-induced rotation. However, the latter depends in general on all physical parameters of the binary which makes modelling efforts as well as understanding parameter-estimation prospects prohibitively complex. Here we show that the dominant precession effects can be captured by a reduced set of spin parameters. Specifically, we introduce a single effective precession spin parameter, χp, which is defined from the spin components that lie in the orbital plane at some (arbitrary) instant during the inspiral. We test the efficacy of this parameter by considering binary inspiral configurations specified by the physical parameters of a corresponding nonprecessing-binary configuration (total mass, mass ratio, and spin components (anti)parallel to the orbital angular momentum), plus the effective precession spin applied to the larger black hole. We show that for an overwhelming majority of random precessing configurations, the precession dynamics during the inspiral are well approximated by our equivalent configurations. Our results suggest that in the comparable-mass regime waveform models with only three spin parameters faithfully represent generic waveforms, which has practical implications for the prospects of GW searches, parameter estimation and the numerical exploration of the precessing-binary parameter space.

UR - http://inspirehep.net/record/1310265

UR - https://arxiv.org/abs/1408.1810

U2 - 10.1103/PhysRevD.91.024043

DO - 10.1103/PhysRevD.91.024043

M3 - Article

VL - 91

JO - Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology

JF - Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology

SN - 1550-7998

M1 - 024043

ER -