On the mass radiated by coalescing black-hole binaries

We derive a phenomenological expression that predicts the final mass of the black-hole remnant resulting from the merger of a generic binary system of black holes on quasi-circular orbits. Besides recovering the correct test-particle limit for extreme mass-ratio binaries, our formula reproduces well the results of all the numerical-relativity simulations published so far, both when applied at separations of a few gravitational radii, and when applied at separations of tens of thousands of gravitational radii. These validations make our formula a useful tool in a variety of contexts ranging from gravitational-wave physics to cosmology. As representative examples, we first illustrate how it can be used to decrease the phase error of the effective-one-body waveforms during the ringdown phase. Secondly, we show that, when combined with the recently computed self-force correction to the binding energy of nonspinning black-hole binaries, it provides an estimate of the energy emitted during the merger and ringdown. Finally, we use it to calculate the energy radiated in gravitational waves by massive black-hole binaries as a function of redshift, using different models for the seeds of the black-hole population.

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Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation, School of Mathematical Sciences,
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