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Phys Rev Lett. 2016 Sep 2;117(10):101102. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.117.101102. Epub 2016 Sep 2.

Spectroscopy of Kerr Black Holes with Earth- and Space-Based Interferometers.

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Department of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Mississippi, University, Mississippi 38677, USA.
CENTRA, Departamento de Física, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Avenida Rovisco Pais 1, 1049 Lisboa, Portugal.
School of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, United Kingdom.
Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Université Paris 6, UMR 7095, Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, 98 bis Bd Arago, 75014 Paris, France.
CNRS, UMR 7095, Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, 98 bis Bd Arago, 75014 Paris, France.
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, 31 Caroline Street North Waterloo, Ontario N2L 2Y5, Canada.
Astronomical Observatory, Warsaw University, Aleje Ujazdowskie 4, 00-478 Warsaw, Poland.


We estimate the potential of present and future interferometric gravitational-wave detectors to test the Kerr nature of black holes through "gravitational spectroscopy," i.e., the measurement of multiple quasinormal mode frequencies from the remnant of a black hole merger. Using population synthesis models of the formation and evolution of stellar-mass black hole binaries, we find that Voyager-class interferometers will be necessary to perform these tests. Gravitational spectroscopy in the local Universe may become routine with the Einstein Telescope, but a 40-km facility like Cosmic Explorer is necessary to go beyond z∼3. In contrast, detectors like eLISA (evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) should carry out a few-or even hundreds-of these tests every year, depending on uncertainties in massive black hole formation models. Many space-based spectroscopical measurements will occur at high redshift, testing the strong gravity dynamics of Kerr black holes in domains where cosmological corrections to general relativity (if they occur in nature) must be significant.

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