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    Gravitational lensing describes the bending of the trajectories of light and gravitational waves due to the gravitational potential of a massive object. Strong lensing by galaxies can create multiple images with different overall amplifications, arrival times, and image types. If, furthermore, the gravitational wave encounters a star along its trajectory, microlensing will take place. Previously, it has been shown that the effects of microlenses on strongly-lensed type-I images could be negligible in practice, at least in the low magnification regime. In this work, we study the same effect on type-II strongly-lensed images by computing the microlensing amplification factor. As opposed to being magnified, type-II images are typically demagnified. Moreover, microlensing on top of type-II images induces larger mismatches with un-microlensed waveforms than type-I images. These results are broadly consistent with recent literature and serve to confirm the findings. In addition, we investigate the possibility of detecting and analysing microlensed signals through Bayesian parameter estimation with an isolated point mass lens template, which has been adopted in recent parameter estimation literature. In particular, we simulate gravitational waves microlensed by a microlens embedded in a galaxy potential near moderately magnified type-I and II macroimages, with variable lens masses, source parameters and macromagnifcations. Generally, an isolated point mass model could be used as an effective template to detect a type-II microlensed image but not for type-I images, demonstrating the necessity for more realistic microlensing search templates.

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  2. Abstract

    The population properties of intermediate-mass black holes remain largely unknown, and understanding their distribution could provide a missing link in the formation of supermassive black holes and galaxies. Gravitational-wave observations can help fill in the gap from stellar mass black holes to supermassive black holes with masses between ∼100–104M. In our work, we propose a new method for examining lens populations through lensing statistics of gravitational waves, here focusing on inferring the number density of intermediate-mass black holes through hierarchical Bayesian inference. Simulating ∼200 lensed gravitational-wave signals, we find that existing gravitational-wave observatories at their design sensitivity could either constrain the number density of 106Mpc−3within a factor of 10, or place an upper bound of ≲104Mpc−3if the true number density is 103Mpc−3. More broadly, our method leaves room for incorporation of additional lens populations, providing a general framework for probing the population properties of lenses in the universe.

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