Tests of General Relativity with GW150914

(LIGO Scientific and Virgo Collaborations)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1284 Scopus citations

Abstract

The LIGO detection of GW150914 provides an unprecedented opportunity to study the two-body motion of a compact-object binary in the large-velocity, highly nonlinear regime, and to witness the final merger of the binary and the excitation of uniquely relativistic modes of the gravitational field. We carry out several investigations to determine whether GW150914 is consistent with a binary black-hole merger in general relativity. We find that the final remnant's mass and spin, as determined from the low-frequency (inspiral) and high-frequency (postinspiral) phases of the signal, are mutually consistent with the binary black-hole solution in general relativity. Furthermore, the data following the peak of GW150914 are consistent with the least-damped quasinormal mode inferred from the mass and spin of the remnant black hole. By using waveform models that allow for parametrized general-relativity violations during the inspiral and merger phases, we perform quantitative tests on the gravitational-wave phase in the dynamical regime and we determine the first empirical bounds on several high-order post-Newtonian coefficients. We constrain the graviton Compton wavelength, assuming that gravitons are dispersed in vacuum in the same way as particles with mass, obtaining a 90%-confidence lower bound of 1013 km. In conclusion, within our statistical uncertainties, we find no evidence for violations of general relativity in the genuinely strong-field regime of gravity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number221101
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume116
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Physical Society.

Funding

The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) for the construction and operation of the LIGO Laboratory and Advanced LIGO as well as the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) of the United Kingdom, the Max-Planck-Society (MPS), and the State of Niedersachsen/Germany for support of the construction of Advanced LIGO and construction and operation of the GEO600 detector. Additional support for Advanced LIGO was provided by the Australian Research Council. The authors gratefully acknowledge the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, for the construction and operation of the Virgo detector and the creation and support of the EGO consortium. The authors also gratefully acknowledge research support from these agencies as well as by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research of India, Department of Science and Technology, India, Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), India, Ministry of Human Resource Development, India, the Spanish Ministerio de Economa y Competitividad, the Conselleria Economia i Competitivitat and Conselleria Educaci, Cultura i Universitats of the Govern de les Illes Balears, the National Science Centre of Poland, the European Commission, the Royal Society, the Scottish Funding Council, the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance, the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA), the Lyon Institute of Origins (LIO), the National Research Foundation of Korea, Industry Canada and the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council Canada, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, the Leverhulme Trust, the Research Corporation, Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Taiwan, and the Kavli Foundation. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the NSF, STFC, MPS, INFN, CNRS, and the State of Niedersachsen/Germany for the provision of computational resources.

FundersFunder number
Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation
Conselleria Economia i Competitivitat
Conselleria Educaci, Cultura i Universitats
Department of Science and Technology, India, Science and Engineering Research Board
Govern de les Illes Balears
Spanish Ministerio de Economa y Competitividad
National Science Foundation
Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Kavli Foundation
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme647839
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation
Science and Technology Facilities Council
Leverhulme Trust
Royal Society
Scottish Funding Council
Scottish Universities Physics Alliance
European Commission
Australian Research Council
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India
Science and Engineering Research Board
Russian Foundation for Basic Research
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek
Hungarian Scientific Research Fund
National Research Foundation of Korea
Instituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare
Narodowe Centrum Nauki
Ministry of Human Resource Development
Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare

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