Detection of eccentric supermassive black hole binaries with pulsar timing arrays: Signal-to-noise ratio calculations

E. A. Huerta, Sean T. McWilliams, Jonathan R. Gair, Stephen R. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We present a detailed analysis of the expected signal-to-noise ratios of supermassive black hole binaries on eccentric orbits observed by pulsar timing arrays. We derive several analytical relations that extend the results of Peters and Mathews [Phys. Rev. D 131, 435 (1963)] to quantify the impact of eccentricity in the detection of single resolvable binaries in the pulsar timing array band. We present ready-to-use expressions to compute the increase/loss in signal-to-noise ratio of eccentric single resolvable sources whose dominant harmonic is located in the low/high frequency sensitivity regime of pulsar timing arrays. Building upon the work of Phinney (arXiv:astro-ph/0108028) and Enoki and Nagashima [Prog. Theor. Phys. 117, 241 (2007)], we present an analytical framework that enables the construction of rapid spectra for a stochastic gravitational-wave background generated by a cosmological population of eccentric sources. We confirm previous findings which indicate that, relative to a population of quasicircular binaries, the strain of a stochastic, isotropic gravitational-wave background generated by a cosmological population of eccentric binaries will be suppressed in the frequency band of pulsar timing arrays. We quantify this effect in terms of signal-to-noise ratios in a pulsar timing array.

Original languageEnglish
Article number063010
Number of pages17
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Volume92
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2015

Keywords

  • GRAVITATIONAL-WAVE SIGNAL
  • ACTIVE GALACTIC NUCLEI
  • GALAXY MERGERS
  • LOW-FREQUENCY
  • STELLAR-SYSTEMS
  • ORBITAL DECAY
  • GAS
  • RADIATION
  • EVOLUTION
  • LIMITS

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