Search for intermediate mass black hole binaries in the first and second observing runs of the Advanced LIGO and Virgo network


B. P. Abbott, California Institute of Technology
R. Abbott, California Institute of Technology
T. D. Abbott, Louisiana State University
S. Abraham, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics India
F. Acernese, Università degli Studi di Salerno
K. Ackley, Monash University
A. Adams, Christopher Newport University
C. Adams, LIGO Livingston
R. X. Adhikari, California Institute of Technology
V. B. Adya, The Australian National University
C. Affeldt, Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute)
M. Agathos, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
K. Agatsuma, University of Birmingham
N. Aggarwal, LIGO, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
O. D. Aguiar, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais
L. Aiello, Gran Sasso Science Institute
A. Ain, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics India
P. Ajith, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
G. Allen, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
A. Allocca, Università di Pisa
M. A. Aloy, Universitat de València
P. A. Altin, The Australian National University
A. Amato, IN2P3 Institut National de Physique Nucleaire et de Physique des Particules
S. Anand, California Institute of Technology
A. Ananyeva, California Institute of Technology
S. B. Anderson, California Institute of Technology
W. G. Anderson, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
S. V. Angelova, University of Strathclyde
S. Antier, APC - AstroParticule et Cosmologie
S. Appert, California Institute of Technology
K. Arai, California Institute of Technology
M. C. Araya, California Institute of Technology
J. S. Areeda, California State University, Fullerton

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Gravitational-wave astronomy has been firmly established with the detection of gravitational waves from the merger of ten stellar-mass binary black holes and a neutron star binary. This paper reports on the all-sky search for gravitational waves from intermediate mass black hole binaries in the first and second observing runs of the Advanced LIGO and Virgo network. The search uses three independent algorithms: two based on matched filtering of the data with waveform templates of gravitational-wave signals from compact binaries, and a third, model-independent algorithm that employs no signal model for the incoming signal. No intermediate mass black hole binary event is detected in this search. Consequently, we place upper limits on the merger rate density for a family of intermediate mass black hole binaries. In particular, we choose sources with total masses M=m1+m2ϵ[120,800] M and mass ratios q=m2/m1ϵ[0.1,1.0]. For the first time, this calculation is done using numerical relativity waveforms (which include higher modes) as models of the real emitted signal. We place a most stringent upper limit of 0.20 Gpc-3 yr-1 (in comoving units at the 90% confidence level) for equal-mass binaries with individual masses m1,2=100 M and dimensionless spins χ1,2=0.8 aligned with the orbital angular momentum of the binary. This improves by a factor of ∼5 that reported after Advanced LIGO's first observing run.

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Physical Review D

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