Evidence-based search method for gravitational waves from neutron star ring-downs

  • Clark J
  • Heng I
  • Pitkin M
 et al. 
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Abstract

The excitation of quadrupolar quasi-normal modes in a neutron star leads to the emission of a short, distinctive, burst of gravitational radiation in the form of a decaying sinusoid or `ring-down'. We present a Bayesian analysis method which incorporates relevant prior information about the source and known instrumental artifacts to conduct a robust search for the gravitational wave emission associated with pulsar glitches and soft $\gamma$-ray repeater flares. Instrumental transients are modelled as sine-Gaussian and their evidence, or marginal likelihood, is compared with that of Gaussian white noise and ring-downs via the `odds-ratio'. Tests using simulated data with a noise spectral density similar to the LIGO interferometer around 1 kHz yield 50% detection efficiency and 1% false alarm probability for ring-down signals with signal-to-noise ratio $\rho=5.2$. For a source at 15 kpc this requires an energy of $1.3\times 10^{-5}M_{\astrosun}c^2$ to be emitted as gravitational waves.

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