Breaking bad degeneracies with Love relations: Improving gravitational-wave measurements through universal relations

Yiqi Xie, Deep Chatterjee, Gilbert Holder, Daniel E. Holz, Scott Perkins, Kent Yagi, Nicolás Yunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The distance-inclination degeneracy limits gravitational-wave parameter estimation of compact binary mergers. Although the degeneracy can be partially broken by including higher-order modes or precession, these effects are suppressed in binary neutron stars. In this work, we implement a new parametrization of the tidal effects in the binary neutron-star waveform, exploiting the binary Love relations, that breaks the distance-inclination degeneracy. The binary Love relations prescribe the tidal deformability of a neutron star as a function of its source-frame mass in an equation-of-state insensitive way and, thus, allows direct measurement of the redshift of the source. If the cosmological parameters are assumed to be known, the redshift can be converted to a luminosity distance, and the distance-inclination degeneracy can thus be broken. We implement this new approach, studying a range of binary neutron-star observing scenarios using Bayesian parameter estimation on synthetic data. In the era of the third-generation detectors, for observations with signal-to-noise ratios ranging from 6 to 167, we forecast up to an ∼70% decrease in the 90% credible interval of the distance and inclination and up to an ∼50% decrease in that of the source-frame component masses. For edge-on systems, our approach can result in moderate (∼50%) improvement in the measurements of distance and inclination for binaries with a signal-to-noise ratio as low as 10. This prescription can be used to better infer the source-frame masses and, hence, refine population properties of neutron stars, such as their maximum mass, impacting nuclear astrophysics. When combined with the search for electromagnetic counterpart observations, the work presented here can be used to put improved bounds on the opening angle of jets from binary neutron-star mergers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number043010
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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