Detecting Gravitational Wave Memory without Parent Signals

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Gravitational-wave memory manifests as a permanent distortion of an idealized gravitational-wave detector and arises generically from energetic astrophysical events. For example, binary black hole mergers are expected to emit memory bursts a little more than an order of magnitude smaller in strain than the oscillatory parent waves. We introduce the concept of "orphan memory": gravitational-wave memory for which there is no detectable parent signal. In particular, high-frequency gravitational-wave bursts (kHz) produce orphan memory in the LIGO/Virgo band. We show that Advanced LIGO measurements can place stringent limits on the existence of high-frequency gravitational waves, effectively increasing the LIGO bandwidth by orders of magnitude. We investigate the prospects for and implications of future searches for orphan memory.




McNeill, L. O., Thrane, E., & Lasky, P. D. (2017). Detecting Gravitational Wave Memory without Parent Signals. Physical Review Letters, 118(18).

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