We study the detectability of gravitational-wave signals from subsolar-mass binary neutron star systems by the current generation of ground-based gravitational-wave detectors. We find that finite size effects from large tidal deformabilities of the neutron stars and lower merger frequencies can significantly impact the sensitivity of the detectors to these sources. By simulating a matched-filter based search using injected binary neutron star signals with tidal deformabilities derived from physically motivated equations of state, we calculate the reduction in sensitivity of the detectors. We conclude that the loss in sensitive volume can be as high as 78.4% for an equal mass binary system of chirp mass 0.17M⊙, in a search conducted using binary black hole template banks. We use this loss in sensitive volume, in combination with the results from the search for subsolar-mass binaries conducted on data collected by the LIGO-Virgo observatories during their first three observing runs, to obtain a conservative upper limit on the merger rate of subsolar-mass binary neutron stars. Since the discovery of a low-mass neutron star would provide new insight into formation mechanisms of neutron stars and further constrain the equation of state of dense nuclear matter, our result merits a dedicated search for subsolar-mass binary neutron star signals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics