Building new tools for gravitational wave astronomy
Johns Hopkins University
There has been tremendous progress in gravitational-wave (GW) astronomy since 2015, including the first detection of a GW signal from a black hole binary, the first multi-messenger observation of a binary neutron star merger, and over 50 compact binary coalescence events in the current GW catalog. Next-generation detectors such as the Einstein Telescope (ET), Cosmic Explorer (CE) and the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) should detect a wider variety of GW events at a hastening pace. It is important to think ahead and develop tools to address the challenges presented by the upcoming events. In the first half of this thesis we develop tools to compare the growing catalog of GW events against population synthesis simulations, and then we apply them to the current GW catalog to constrain physical processes in the formation of compact object binaries. In the second half we explore the detectability of various potential LISA sources, including black holes surrounded by ultralight boson clouds, exoplanets, single intermediate-mass black holes, and “multiband” events that may be observed by both LISA and ground-based interferometers.