Date of Award

August 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Duncan Brown

Subject Categories

Physical Sciences and Mathematics


In this dissertation we study gravitational-wave data analysis techniques for binary neutron star and black hole mergers. During its first observing run, the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (Advanced LIGO) reported the

first, direct observations of gravitational waves from two binary black hole mergers. We present the results from the search for binary black hole mergers which unambiguously detected the binary black hole mergers. We determine the effect of calibration

errors on the detection statistic of the search. Since the search is not designed to precisely measure the astrophysical parameters of the binary neutron star and black hole mergers, we use Bayesian methods to develop a new parameter estimation analysis.

We demonstrate the performance of the analysis on the binary black hole mergers detected during Advanced LIGO’s first observing run. We use the parameter estimation analysis to assess the ability of gravitational-wave observatories to observe a gap

in the black hole mass distribution between 52 M and 133 M due to pair-instability supernovae. Finally, we use simulated signals added to the Advanced LIGO detectors to validate the search and parameter estimation analyses used to publish the

detection of the astrophysical events.


Open Access