LIGO Document P1600075-v1

The One-Armed Spiral Instability in Neutron Star Mergers and its Detectability in Gravitational Waves

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We study the development and saturation of the $m=1$ one-armed spiral instability in remnants of binary neutron star mergers by means of high-resolution long-term numerical relativity simulations. Our results suggest that this instability is a generic outcome of neutron
stars mergers in astrophysically relevant configurations; including both ``stiff'' and ``soft'' nuclear equations of state. We find that,
once seeded at merger, the $m=1$ mode saturates within $\sim 10\ \mathrm{ms}$ and persists over secular timescales. Gravitational waves emitted by the $m=1$ instability have a peak frequency around $1-2$~kHz and, if detected, could be used to constrain the equation of state of neutron stars. We construct hybrid waveforms spanning the entire Advanced LIGO band by combining our high-resolution numerical data with state-of-the-art effective-one-body waveforms including tidal effects. We use the complete hybrid waveforms to study the detectability of the one-armed spiral instability for both Advanced LIGO and the Einstein Telescope. We conclude that the one-armed spiral instability is not an efficient gravitational wave emitter. Its observation by current generation detectors is unlikely and will require third-generation interferometers.
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Hybrid waveform data available at

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