LIGO Document P1500213-v31

Tests of general relativity with GW150914

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The LIGO detection of \TheEvent{} 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
\TheEvent{} 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 (post-inspiral) phases of the signal, are mutually consistent with
the binary black-hole solution in general relativity. Furthermore, the data following the peak
of \TheEvent{} are consistent with the least-damped quasi-normal mode inferred
from the mass and spin of the remnant black hole. By using waveform models
that allow for parameterized 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 \GRAVITONCOMPTONWAVELENGTH{}. In conclusion, within our
statistical uncertainties, we find no
evidence for violations of general relativity in the genuinely strong-field regime of gravity.
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Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 221101, 2016
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