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Coherent Network Detection of Gravitational Waves: The Redundancy Veto


Wen,  Linqing
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

Schutz,  Bernard F.
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Wen, L., & Schutz, B. F. (2005). Coherent Network Detection of Gravitational Waves: The Redundancy Veto. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 22(18), S1321-S1335.

A network of gravitational wave detectors is called redundant if, given the direction to a source, the strain induced by a gravitational wave in one or more of the detectors can be fully expressed in terms of the strain induced in others in the network. Because gravitational waves have only two polarizations, any network of three or more differently oriented interferometers with similar observing bands is redundant. The three-armed LISA space interferometer has three outputs that are redundant at low frequencies. The two aligned LIGO interferometers at Hanford WA are redundant, and the LIGO detector at Livingston LA is nearly redundant with either of the Hanford detectors. Redundant networks have a powerful veto against spurious noise, a linear combination of the detector outputs that contains no gravitational wave signal. For LISA, this 'null' output is known as the Sagnac mode, and its use in discriminating between detector noise and a cosmological gravitational wave background is well understood. But the usefulness of the null veto for ground-based detector networks has been ignored until now. We show that it should make it possible to discriminate in a model-independent way between real gravitational waves and accidentally coincident non-Gaussian noise 'events' in redundant networks of two or more broadband detectors. It has been shown that with three detectors, the null output can even be used to locate the direction to the source, and then two other linear combinations of detector outputs give the optimal 'coherent' reconstruction of the two polarization components of the signal. We discuss briefly the implementation of such a detection strategy in realistic networks, where signals are weak, detector calibration is a significant uncertainty, and the various detectors may have different (but overlapping) observing bands.