Establishing significance of gravitational-wave signals from a single observatory in the PyCBC offline search

Gareth Stephen Cabourn Davies*, Ian Harry

*Corresponding author for this work

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Gravitational-wave observations of compact binary coalescences are allowing us to see black holes and neutron stars further into the Universe and recent results represent the most sensitive searches for compact objects ever undertaken. Most searches for gravitational waves from compact binary coalescence currently rely on detecting coincident triggers from multiple detectors. In this paper, we describe a new method for extrapolating significance of single-detector signals beyond the live-time of the analysis. Using this method, we can recover loud signals which only triggered in a single detector. We demonstrate this method in a search of O3 data, and recover seven single-detector events with a false alarm rate less than two per year. These were the same events as discovered in the GWTC-2.1 and GWTC-3 searches in a single detector, and all but one event from 3-OGC and 4-OGC. Through a campaign of injected signals, we estimate that the total time–volume sensitivity increases by a factor of up to 1.20 ± 0.02 at a false alarm rate of one per two years compared to completely ignoring single-detector events.
Original languageEnglish
Article number215012
Number of pages26
JournalClassical and Quantum Gravity
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2022


  • gravitational waves
  • gravitational-wave astrophysics
  • binary compact objects
  • UKRI
  • STFC
  • ST/T000333/1
  • ST/V005715/1


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