Document Type


Publication Date



The unprecedented range of second-generation gravitational-wave (GW) observatories calls for refining the predictions of potential sources and detection rates. The coalescence of double compact objects (DCOs)—i.e., neutron star–neutron star (NS–NS), black hole–neutron star (BH–NS), and black hole–black hole (BH–BH) binary systems—is the most promising source of GWs for these detectors. We compute detection rates of coalescing DCOs in second-generation GW detectors using the latest models for their cosmological evolution, and implementing inspiral-merger-ringdown gravitational waveform models in our signal-to-noise ratio calculations. We find that (1) the inclusion of the merger/ringdown portion of the signal does not significantly affect rates for NS–NS and BH–NS systems, but it boosts rates by a factor of ~1.5 for BH–BH systems; (2) in almost all of our models BH–BH systems yield by far the largest rates, followed by NS–NS and BH–NS systems, respectively; and (3) a majority of the detectable BH–BH systems were formed in the early universe in low-metallicity environments. We make predictions for the distributions of detected binaries and discuss what the first GW detections will teach us about the astrophysics underlying binary formation and evolution.


© 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

The Astrophysical Journal





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.