Detecting Gravitational Wave Memory without Parent Signals

Lucy O. McNeill, Eric Thrane, Paul D. Lasky

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Gravitational-wave memory manifests as a permanent distortion of an idealized gravitational-wave detector and arises generically from energetic astrophysical events. For example, binary black hole mergers are expected to emit memory bursts a little more than an order of magnitude smaller in strain than the oscillatory parent waves. We introduce the concept of "orphan memory": gravitational-wave memory for which there is no detectable parent signal. In particular, high-frequency gravitational-wave bursts (kHz) produce orphan memory in the LIGO/Virgo band. We show that Advanced LIGO measurements can place stringent limits on the existence of high-frequency gravitational waves, effectively increasing the LIGO bandwidth by orders of magnitude. We investigate the prospects for and implications of future searches for orphan memory.

Original languageEnglish
Article number181103
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2017

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