LIGO Document G0900276-v2

Lowering the Swift threshold: An expanded search for GW bursts in association with GRBs during LIGO's 5th science run

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Searches for GW bursts in association with GRBs are now well established using GRB information (burst time and position) provided by satellite-borne gamma-ray detectors via the global coordinates network (GCN). Such externally-triggered searches increase substantially the effective GW burst sensitivity. The Swift detector, which was operating throughout the LIGO S5 science run, employs stringent detection criteria on putative burst events which must be met before the event is reported as a GRB candidate to the GCN, thus insuring a very low false alarm rate. Here, we discuss a GW search method in which the usual Swift criteria are slightly relaxed, thus potentially enlarging the GRB sample at the cost of an increased false alarm rate. We define two different classes of such "sub-threshold" events in Swift and describe the proposed GW search strategy required for each. There are several mechanisms by which strong GW bursts might be associated with relatively weak gamma-ray bursts. Hence, such a search can plausibly increase the GW detection probability.
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