LIGO Document P1100198-v4

Sensitivity Comparison of Searches for Binary Black Hole Coalescences with Ground-based Gravitational-Wave Detectors

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The search for gravitational-wave transients from the coalescence of black hole binaries in ground based detectors has historically relied on two approaches: matched filtering with templates and morphology independent, excess power searches. The multiple algorithmic implementations have reflected different strategies for the suppression of non-Gaussian noise transients, and targeted dif- ferent regions of the binary black hole parameter space. In this paper we compare the sensitivity of three such algorithms: matched filtering with full coalescence templates, matched filtering with ringdown templates and a morphology independent excess power search. The comparison is per- formed at a fixed false alarm rate and relies on a large number of simulated coalescence waveforms covering a broad parameter space. We report sensitivity measures for systems with total mass 25 350 solar mass, covering parts of stellar mass and intermediate mass black hole binaries. We find that matched filtering to full waveform templates is the most sensitive of the three approaches in the total mass 25100 solar mass, within less than 10% on average at a false alarm rate of 3 events/year, while the morphology-independent excess power search approach is more sensitive than matched filtering to ringdown templates, in the total mass 100350 solar mass, to within 20% at a false alarm rate of 3 events/year, measured as sensitive distance averaged over source parameters.
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