Improving timing sensitivity in the microhertz frequency regime: limits from PSR J1713$+$0747 on gravitational waves produced by super-massive black-hole binaries

Abstract : We search for continuous gravitational waves (CGWs) produced by individual supermassive black hole binaries in circular orbits using high-cadence timing observations of PSR J1713+0747. We observe this millisecond pulsar using the telescopes in the European Pulsar Timing Array with an average cadence of approximately 1.6 d over the period between 2011 April and 2015 July, including an approximately daily average between 2013 February and 2014 April. The high-cadence observations are used to improve the pulsar timing sensitivity across the gravitational wave frequency range of 0.008−5$$\mu$$Hz. We use two algorithms in the analysis, including a spectral fitting method and a Bayesian approach. For an independent comparison, we also use a previously published Bayesian algorithm. We find that the Bayesian approaches provide optimal results and the timing observations of the pulsar place a 95 per cent upper limit on the sky-averaged strain amplitude of CGWs to be ≲3.5 × 10^−13 at a reference frequency of 1 $$\mu$$Hz. We also find a 95 per cent upper limit on the sky-averaged strain amplitude of low-frequency CGWs to be ≲1.4 × 10^−14 at a reference frequency of 20 nHz.
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B.B.P. Perera, B.W. Stappers, S. Babak, M.J. Keith, J. Antoniadis, et al.. Improving timing sensitivity in the microhertz frequency regime: limits from PSR J1713$+$0747 on gravitational waves produced by super-massive black-hole binaries. Mon.Not.Roy.Astron.Soc., 2018, 478 (1), pp.218-227. ⟨10.1093/mnras/sty1116⟩. ⟨hal-01797081⟩

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