Type of Document Dissertation Author Slutsky, Jacob Peter Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-06292010-161138 Title Quantifying the Impact of Data Quality on Searches for Gravitational Waves From Binary Coalescing Systems with LIGO Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Department Physics & Astronomy Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title González, Gabriela Committee Chair Blackmon, Jeffrey Committee Member Giaime, Joseph Committee Member Lee, Hwang Committee Member Tohline, Joel Committee Member Madden, James Dean's Representative Keywords
- data analysis
- veto methods
- Fourier analysis
- transient noise
Date of Defense 2010-06-17 Availability unrestricted AbstractGravitational waves are ripples in space-time itself, predicted by Einstein's General theory
of relativity, which propagate at the speed of light and are not scattered or extinguished
by passing through matter almost at all. In particular, the gravitational waves from the
coalescences of binary systems of compact objects, such as neutron stars and black holes, are
exciting prospects for observation. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory
experiment intends to make the first direct measurement of gravitational waves, and use
the results to uncover new astrophysics. These observations will not be limited by extinction
from dust and gas, and will probe astrophysical systems at distances of tens of millions to
hundreds of millions of parsecs. The LIGO Scientic Collaboration searches for gravitational
waves from a variety of astrophysical sources amongst this data. These searches are complicated
by the presence of transients of non-astrophysical origin in the interferometer data.
Control system and equipment malfunctions, as well as coupling from ground motions and
electromagnetic fields, are the most common noises that detract from the LIGO data quality.
These sources of noise increase the false alarm rate for gravitational wave searches, and need
to be vetoed to search the data effectively for detections, or to set upper limits properly.
Vetoes for the searches are created from the available data quality information, and their
eect on the overall sensitivity of LIGO to these sources must be analyzed. During the S5
science run, I evaluated the data quality information for use as vetoes for the LIGO search
for compact binary coalescences. The use of these vetoes made this search more sensitive to
distant gravitational radiation sources by decreasing the non-astrophysical background from
noise transients. In this dissertation, I quantify the impact of data quality on searches for
gravitational waves with LIGO, and the resulting increased sensitivity to binary coalescing
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