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Prospects for observing extreme-mass-ratio inspirals with LISA

Gair, Jonathan R.; Babak, Stanislav; Sesana, Alberto; Amaro-Seoane, Pau; Barausse, Enrico; Berry, Christopher P. L.; Berti, Emanuele; Sopuerta, Carlos

One of the key astrophysical sources for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) are the inspirals of stellar-origin compact objects into massive black holes in the centres of galaxies. These extreme-mass-ratio inspirals (EMRIs) have great potential for astrophysics, cosmology and fundamental physics. In this paper we describe the likely numbers and properties of EMRI events that LISA will observe. We present the first results computed for the 2.5 Gm interferometer that was the new baseline mission submitted in January 2017 in response to the ESA L3 mission call. In addition, we attempt to quantify the astrophysical uncertainties in EMRI event rate estimates by considering a range of different models for the astrophysical population. We present both likely event rates and estimates for the precision with which the parameters of the observed sources could be measured. We finish by discussing the implications of these results for science using EMRIs.
Published in: Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 10.1088/1742-6596/840/1/012021, IOP