LIGO Document P2200031-v8

Search for gravitational-lensing signatures in the full third observing run of the LIGO-Virgo network

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Gravitational lensing by massive objects along the line of sight to the source causes distortions of gravitational wave-signals; such distortions may reveal information about fundamental physics, cosmology and astrophysics. In this work, we have extended the search for lensing signatures to all binary black hole events from the third observing run of the LIGO--Virgo network. We search for repeated signals from strong lensing by 1) performing targeted searches for subthreshold signals, 2) calculating the degree of overlap amongst the intrinsic parameters and sky location of pairs of signals, 3) comparing the similarities of the spectrograms amongst pairs of signals, and 4) performing dual-signal Bayesian analysis that takes into account selection effects and astrophysical knowledge. We also search for distortions to the gravitational waveform caused by 1) frequency-independent phase shifts in strongly lensed images, and 2) frequency-dependent modulation of the amplitude and phase due to point masses. None of these searches yields significant evidence for lensing. Finally, we use the non-detection of gravitational-wave lensing to constrain the lensing rate based on the latest merger-rate estimates and the fraction of dark matter composed of compact objects.
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