We consider the concept of fundamental bias in gravitational wave astrophysics as the assumption that general relativity is the correct theory of gravity during the entire wave-generation and propagation regime. Such an assumption is valid in the weak field, as verified by precision experiments and observations, but it need not hold in the dynamical strong-field regime where tests are lacking. Fundamental bias can cause systematic errors in the detection and parameter estimation of signals, which can lead to a mischaracterization of the Universe through incorrect inferences about source event rates and populations. We propose a remedy through the introduction of the parametrized post-Einsteinian framework, which consists of the enhancement of waveform templates via the inclusion of post-Einsteinian parameters. These parameters would ostensibly be designed to interpolate between templates constructed in general relativity and well-motivated alternative theories of gravity, and also include extrapolations that follow sound theoretical principles, such as consistency with conservation laws and symmetries. As an example, we construct parametrized post-Einsteinian templates for the binary coalescence of equal-mass, nonspinning compact objects in a quasicircular inspiral. The parametrized post-Einsteinian framework should allow matched filtered data to select a specific set of post-Einsteinian parameters without a priori assuming the validity of the former, thus either verifying general relativity or pointing to possible dynamical strong-field deviations.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology|
|State||Published - Dec 14 2009|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)