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A triple origin for the heavy and low-spin binary black holes detected by LIGO/VIRGO

Rodriguez, Carl L. and Antonini, Fabio 2018. A triple origin for the heavy and low-spin binary black holes detected by LIGO/VIRGO. Astrophysical Journal 863 (1) , 7. 10.3847/1538-4357/aacea4

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We explore the masses, merger rates, eccentricities, and spins for field binary black holes (BHs) driven to merger by a third companion through the Lidov–Kozai mechanism. Using a population synthesis approach, we model the creation of stellar-mass BH triples across a range of different initial conditions and stellar metallicities. We find that the production of triple-mediated mergers is enhanced at low metallicities by a factor of ~100 due to the lower BH natal kicks and reduced stellar mass loss. These triples naturally yield heavy binary BHs with near-zero effective spins, consistent with most of the mergers observed to date. This process produces a merger rate of between 2 and 25 Gpc−3 yr−1 in the local universe, suggesting that the Lidov–Kozai mechanism can potentially explain all of the low-spin, heavy BH mergers observed by Advanced LIGO/Virgo. Finally, we show that triples admit a unique eccentricity and spin distribution that will allow this model to be tested in the near future.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Publisher: American Astronomical Society
ISSN: 0004-637X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 February 2020
Date of Acceptance: 20 June 2018
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2020 10:16

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