Testing general relativity with gravitational waves: A reality check
Abstract
The observations of gravitationalwave signals from astrophysical sources such as binary inspirals will be used to test general relativity for selfconsistency and against alternative theories of gravity. I describe a simple formula that can be used to characterize the prospects of such tests, by estimating the matchedfiltering signaltonoise ratio required to detect nongeneralrelativistic corrections of a given magnitude. The formula is valid for sufficiently strong signals; it requires the computation of a single number, the fitting factor between the generalrelativistic and corrected waveform families; and it can be applied to all tests that embed general relativity in a larger theory, including tests of individual theories such as BransDicke gravity, as well as the phenomenological schemes that introduce corrections and extra terms in the postNewtonian phasing expressions of inspiral waveforms. The formula suggests that the volumelimited gravitationalwave searches performed with secondgeneration groundbased detectors would detect alternativegravity corrections to generalrelativistic waveforms no smaller than 1%10% (corresponding to fitting factors of 0.9 to 0.99).
 Publication:

Physical Review D
 Pub Date:
 October 2012
 DOI:
 10.1103/PhysRevD.86.082001
 arXiv:
 arXiv:1207.4759
 Bibcode:
 2012PhRvD..86h2001V
 Keywords:

 04.80.Nn;
 04.25.Nx;
 04.30.Db;
 95.55.Ym;
 Gravitational wave detectors and experiments;
 PostNewtonian approximation;
 perturbation theory;
 related approximations;
 Wave generation and sources;
 Gravitational radiation detectors;
 mass spectrometers;
 and other instrumentation and techniques;
 General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology
 EPrint:
 7 pages, 1 figure, RevTeX 4.1, final published version