Expanding the LISA Horizon from the Ground

Kaze W.K. Wong, Ely D. Kovetz, Curt Cutler, Emanuele Berti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) gravitational-wave (GW) observatory will be limited in its ability to detect mergers of binary black holes (BBHs) in the stellar-mass range. A future ground-based detector network, meanwhile, will achieve by the LISA launch date a sensitivity that ensures complete detection of all mergers within a volume >O(10) Gpc3. We propose a method to use the information from the ground to revisit the LISA data in search for subthreshold events. By discarding spurious triggers that do not overlap with the ground-based catalogue, we show that the signal-to-noise threshold ρLISA employed in LISA can be significantly lowered, greatly boosting the detection rate. The efficiency of this method depends predominantly on the rate of false-alarm increase when the threshold is lowered and on the uncertainty in the parameter estimation for the LISA events. As an example, we demonstrate that while all current LIGO BBH-merger detections would have evaded detection by LISA when employing a standard ρLISA=8 threshold, this method will allow us to easily (possibly) detect an event similar to GW150914 (GW170814) in LISA. Overall, we estimate that the total rate of stellar-mass BBH mergers detected by LISA can be boosted by a factor ∼4 (8) under conservative (optimistic) assumptions. This will enable new tests using multiband GW observations, significantly aided by the greatly increased lever arm in frequency.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number251102
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number25
StatePublished - 17 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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