The characterization and temporal distribution of cosmological gravitational wave treatments

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    [Truncated abstract] As gravitational wave detectors approach sensitivities that will allow observations to become routine, astrophysics lies on the cusp of an exciting new era. Potential sources will include transients such as merging neutron stars and black holes, supernova explosions or the engines that power gamma-ray bursts. This thesis will be devoted to the astrophysical gravitational wave background signal produced by cosmological populations of such transient signals. Particular attention will be devoted to the observation-time dependence imposed on the individual sources that accumulate to produce a gravitational wave background signal. The ultimate aim is to determine what information is encoded in the temporal evolution of such a signal. To lay the foundations for further investigation, the stochastic gravitational wave background signal from neutron star birth throughout the Universe has been calculated. In view of the uncertainties in both the single-source emissions and source rate histories, several models of each are employed. The results show that that the resulting signals are only weakly dependent on the source-rate evolution model and that prominent features in the single-source spectra can be related to the background spectra. In comparison with previous studies, the use of relativistic single-source gravitational wave waveforms rather than Newtonian models and a more slowly evolving source-rate density results in a 1 { 2 order of magnitude reduction in signal. ... A comparison with the more commonly used brightness distribution of events shows that when applying both methods to a data stream containing a background of Gaussian distributed false alarms, the brightness distribution yielded lower standard errors, but was biased by the false alarms. In comparison, a fitting procedure based on the time evolution of events was less prone to errors resulting from false alarms, but as fewer events contributed to the data, had a lower resolution. In further support of the time dependent signature of transient events, an alternative technique is fiapplied to the same source population. In this case, the local rate density is probed by measuring the statistical compatibility of the filtered data against synthetic time dependent data. Although this method is not as compact as the fitting procedure, the rate estimates are compatible. To further investigate how the observation time dependence of transient populations can be used to constrain global parameters, the method is applied to Swift long gamma-ray burst data. By considering a distribution in peak °ux rather than a gravitational wave amplitude, gamma-ray bursts can be considered as a surrogate for resolved gravitational wave transients. For this application a peak °ux{observation time relation is described that takes the form of a power law that is invariant to the luminosity distribution of the sources. Additionally, the method is enhanced by invoking time reversal invariance and the temporal cosmological principle. Results are presented to show that the peak °ux{observation time relation is in good agreement with recent estimates of source parameters. Additionally, to show that the intrinsic time dependence allows the method to be used as a predictive tool, projections are made to determine the upper limits in peak °ux of future gamma-ray burst detections for Swift.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2009


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