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  1. ABSTRACT

    The detection of an intermediate-mass black hole population (102–106 M⊙) will provide clues to their formation environments (e.g. discs of active galactic nuclei, globular clusters) and illuminate a potential pathway to produce supermassive black holes. Ground-based gravitational-wave detectors are sensitive to mergers that can form intermediate-mass black holes weighing up to ∼450 M⊙. However, ground-based detector data contain numerous incoherent short duration noise transients that can mimic the gravitational-wave signals from merging intermediate-mass black holes, limiting the sensitivity of searches. Here, we follow-up on binary black hole merger candidates using a ranking statistic that measures the coherence or incoherence of triggers in multiple-detector data. We use this statistic to rank candidate events, initially identified by all-sky search pipelines, with lab-frame total masses ≳ 55 M⊙ using data from LIGO’s second observing run. Our analysis does not yield evidence for new intermediate-mass black holes. However, we find support for eight stellar-mass binary black holes not reported in the first LIGO–Virgo gravitational wave transient catalogue GWTC-1, seven of which have been previously reported by other catalogues.

     
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  2. null (Ed.)
  3. Small, highly absorbing points are randomly present on the surfaces of the main interferometer optics in Advanced LIGO. The resulting nanometer scale thermo-elastic deformations and substrate lenses from these micron-scale absorbers significantly reduce the sensitivity of the interferometer directly though a reduction in the power-recycling gain and indirect interactions with the feedback control system. We review the expected surface deformation from point absorbers and provide a pedagogical description of the impact on power buildup in second generation gravitational wave detectors (dual-recycled Fabry–Perot Michelson interferometers). This analysis predicts that the power-dependent reduction in interferometer performance will significantly degrade maximum stored power by up to 50% and, hence, limit GW sensitivity, but it suggests system wide corrections that can be implemented in current and future GW detectors. This is particularly pressing given that future GW detectors call for an order of magnitude more stored power than currently used in Advanced LIGO in Observing Run 3. We briefly review strategies to mitigate the effects of point absorbers in current and future GW wave detectors to maximize the success of these enterprises.

     
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