TY - JOUR

T1 - Gravitational wave tests of general relativity with the parameterized post-Einsteinian framework

AU - Cornish, Neil

AU - Sampson, Laura

AU - Yunes, Nicolás

AU - Pretorius, Frans

PY - 2011/9/30

Y1 - 2011/9/30

N2 - Gravitational wave astronomy has tremendous potential for studying extreme astrophysical phenomena and exploring fundamental physics. The waves produced by binary black hole mergers will provide a pristine environment in which to study strong-field dynamical gravity. Extracting detailed information about these systems requires accurate theoretical models of the gravitational wave signals. If gravity is not described by general relativity, analyses that are based on waveforms derived from Einstein's field equations could result in parameter biases and a loss of detection efficiency. A new class of "parameterized post-Einsteinian" waveforms has been proposed to cover this eventuality. Here, we apply the parameterized post-Einsteinian approach to simulated data from a network of advanced ground-based interferometers and from a future space-based interferometer. Bayesian inference and model selection are used to investigate parameter biases, and to determine the level at which departures from general relativity can be detected. We find that in some cases the parameter biases from assuming the wrong theory can be severe. We also find that gravitational wave observations will beat the existing bounds on deviations from general relativity derived from the orbital decay of binary pulsars by a large margin across a wide swath of parameter space.

AB - Gravitational wave astronomy has tremendous potential for studying extreme astrophysical phenomena and exploring fundamental physics. The waves produced by binary black hole mergers will provide a pristine environment in which to study strong-field dynamical gravity. Extracting detailed information about these systems requires accurate theoretical models of the gravitational wave signals. If gravity is not described by general relativity, analyses that are based on waveforms derived from Einstein's field equations could result in parameter biases and a loss of detection efficiency. A new class of "parameterized post-Einsteinian" waveforms has been proposed to cover this eventuality. Here, we apply the parameterized post-Einsteinian approach to simulated data from a network of advanced ground-based interferometers and from a future space-based interferometer. Bayesian inference and model selection are used to investigate parameter biases, and to determine the level at which departures from general relativity can be detected. We find that in some cases the parameter biases from assuming the wrong theory can be severe. We also find that gravitational wave observations will beat the existing bounds on deviations from general relativity derived from the orbital decay of binary pulsars by a large margin across a wide swath of parameter space.

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U2 - 10.1103/PhysRevD.84.062003

DO - 10.1103/PhysRevD.84.062003

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:80053911647

VL - 84

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

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

SN - 1550-7998

IS - 6

M1 - 062003

ER -