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Upper limits on the stochastic gravitational-wave background from advanced LIGO's first observing run

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A wide variety of astrophysical and cosmological sources are expected to contribute to a stochastic gravitational-wave background. Following the observations of GW150914 and GW151226, the rate and mass of coalescing binary black holes appear to be greater than many previous expectations. As a result, the stochastic background from unresolved compact binary coalescences is expected to be particularly loud. We perform a search for the isotropic stochastic gravitational-wave background using data from Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory’s (aLIGO) first observing run. The data display no evidence of a stochastic gravitational-wave signal. We constrain the dimensionless energy density of gravitational waves to be Ω0<1.7×10−7 with 95% confidence, assuming a flat energy density spectrum in the most sensitive part of the LIGO band (20–86 Hz). This is a factor of ∼33 times more sensitive than previous measurements. We also constrain arbitrary power-law spectra. Finally, we investigate the implications of this search for the background of binary black holes using an astrophysical model for the background.
Original languageEnglish
Article number121101
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2017


  • PhysRevLett.118.121101

    Rights statement: B. P. Abbot 2017. 'Upper Limits on the Stochastic Gravitational-Wave Background from Advanced LIGO’s First Observing Run'. Physical Review Letters, 118(12), 029901. © 2017 American Physical Society. All rights reserved.

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