LIGO Document P1300199-v13

The NINJA-2 project: Detecting and characterizing gravitational waveforms modelled using numerical binary black hole simulations.

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The Numerical INJection Analysis (NINJA) project is a collaborative effort between members of the numerical relativity and gravitational-wave astrophysics communities. The purpose of NINJA is to study the ability to detect gravitational waves emitted from merging binary black holes and recover their parameters with next-generation gravitational-wave observatories. We report here on the results of the second NINJA project, NINJA-2, which employs 60 complete binary black hole hybrid waveforms consisting of a numerical portion modelling the late inspiral, merger, and ringdown stitched to a post-Newtonian portion modelling the early inspiral. In a ``blind injection challenge'' similar to that conducted in recent LIGO and Virgo science runs, we added 7 hybrid waveforms to two months of data recolored to predictions of Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo sensitivity curves during their first observing runs. The resulting data was analyzed by gravitational-wave detection algorithms and 6 of the waveforms were recovered with false alarm rates smaller than 1 in a thousand years. Parameter estimation algorithms were run on each of these waveforms to explore the ability to constrain the masses, component angular momenta and sky position of these waveforms. We find that the strong degeneracy between the mass ratio and the black holes' angular momenta will make it difficult to precisely estimate these parameters with Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo. We also perform a large-scale monte-carlo study to assess the ability to recover each of the 60 hybrid waveforms with early Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo sensitivity curves. Our results predict that early Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo will have a volume-weighted average sensitive distance of 300Mpc (1Gpc) for 10 solar mass + 10 solar mass (50 solar mass + 50 solar mass) binary black hole coalescences. We demonstrate that neglecting the component angular momenta in the waveform models used in matched-filtering will result in a reduction in sensitivity for systems with large component angular momenta. This reduction is estimated to be up to approximately 15% for 50 solar mass + 50 solar mass binary black hole coalescences with almost maximal angular momenta aligned with the orbit when using early Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo sensitivity curves.
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