Volume 638, June 2020
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Published online||23 June 2020|
Binary black hole mergers in AGN accretion discs: gravitational wave rate density estimates
Department of Physics, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
2 Physik-Institut, Universität Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
Accepted: 4 May 2020
The majority of gravitational wave (GW) events detected so far by LIGO/Virgo originate from binary black hole (BBH) mergers. Among the different binary evolution paths, the merger of BBHs in accretion discs of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) is a possible source of GW detections. We consider an idealised analytical model of the orbital evolution of BBHs embedded in an AGN accretion disc. In this framework, the disc–binary interaction increases the orbital eccentricity and decreases the orbital separation, driving the BBH into a regime where GW emission eventually leads to coalescence. We compute the resulting GW merger rate density from this channel based on a weighted average of the merger timescales of a population of BBHs radially distributed within the AGN accretion disc. The predicted merger rates broadly lie in the range ℛ ∼ (0.002−18) Gpc−3 yr−1. We analyse the dependence of the merger rate density on both the accretion disc and binary orbital parameters, emphasising the important role of the orbital eccentricity. We discuss the astrophysical implications of this particular BBH-in-AGN formation channel in the broader context of binary evolution scenarios.
Key words: gravitational waves / black hole physics / accretion, accretion disks / methods: analytical
© ESO 2020
Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.
Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.
Initial download of the metrics may take a while.