LIGO Document T2000362-v5

Detectability of Quantum Effects in Gravitational Waves Emitted by Binary Black Hole Mergers

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T - Technical notes
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Gravitational wave detectors such as Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo provide a test of the theory of General relativity in the strong-field, highly dynamical regime, such as in compact binary coalescences. General Relativity, a purely classical theory, does not incorporate quantum mechanics. It is thought, however, that quantum mechanics must modify gravity; quantum uncertainty must manifest itself during the merger of two black hole horizons. These quantum mechanical effects could be observable in gravitational waves detected by LIGO as small perturbations in the signal waveform and higher harmonics, not explainable by current understandings of general relativity. We propose to study the detectability of such quantum mechanical effects from binary black hole mergers for future LIGO observations.
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