Vol 20, No 11

Has LIGO detected primordial black hole dark matter? - tidal disruption in binary black hole formation

Yuan Gao, Xiao-Jia Zhang, Meng Su


Abstract The frequent detection of binary mergers of ∼ 30 M⊙ black holes (BHs) by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) rekindled researchers’ interest in primordial BHs (PBHs) being dark matter (DM). In this work, we investigated PBHs distributed as DM with a monochromatic mass of 30 M⊙ and examined the encounter-capture scenario of binary formation, where the densest central region of DM halo dominates. Thus, we paid special attention to the tidal effect by the supermassive black hole (SMBH) present. In doing so, we discovered a necessary tool called loss zone that complements the usage of loss cone. We found that the tidal effect is not prominent in affecting binary formation, which also turned out to be insufficient in explaining the totality of LIGO’s event rate estimation, especially due to a microlensing event constraining the DM fraction in PBH at the mass of interest from near unity to an order smaller. Meanwhile, an early-universe binary formation scenario proves so prevailing that the LIGO signal in turn constrains the PBH fraction below one percent. Thus, people should put more faith in alternative PBH windows and other DM candidates.


Keywords black hole physics — dark matter — gravitational waves — quasars: supermassive black holes

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