Gravitational Wave Templates from Numerical Simulations of Binary Black Hole Dynamics
|Research Area||Numerical relativity, astrophysics of black holes and gravitational waves; gravitational wave astronomy, numerical solution of the Einstein equations, finite difference methods, mesh refinement techniques for the solution of partial differential equations.|
|Principal Investigator(s)||Bernd Bruegmann|
Based on recent breakthroughs in the numerical simulation of sources of gravitational waves, we propose an ambitious program to construct gravitational wave templates for binary black hole coalescences and push forward the connection of the fields of numerical relativity and gravitational wave data analysis. General relativity predicts the emission of gravitational waves in non-spherical dynamical interactions of masses, analogous to the production of electromagnetic waves by accelerated charges in electromagnetism. All current knowledge about astrophysics and cosmology is based on electromagnetic observations, but observations of gravitational waves will open a new window into the universe and provide information about phenomena hitherto not accessible to direct observation, such as black holes, dark matter, or the very early universe. The detection of gravitational waves has not yet been accomplished, but a growing network of gravitational wave detectors is currently taking data at design sensitivity. In order to actually extract information about the sources from observations, accurate signal templates are needed for various types of sources. While the initial phase of the inspiral of black holes is accessible to perturbation calculations, this is not true for the last orbits and merger. To produce complete waveforms, numerical simulations of the full nonlinear Einstein equations (written in the form of elliptic and hyperbolic partial differential equations) are required, which poses a challenging problem in physics, mathematics and high performance computing. This project aims at connecting such numerical simulations to the regime where perturbation calculations are valid, and thus to provide complete waveforms. We plan to establish a model ``data analysis pipeline'' that connects numerical relativity simulations to performing searches in detector data, which also requires to map out carefully selected regions of the parameter space of black hole binary mass ratios and spins in some detail.