Publications associated with Theoretical Astrophysics & Plasma Physics

Black hole mergers from quadruples

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press (OUP) (2019)

G Fragione, B Kocsis

With the hundreds of merging binary black hole (BH) signals expected to be detected by LIGO/Virgo, LISA and other instruments in the next few years, the modeling of astrophysical channels that lead to the formation of compact-object binaries has become of fundamental importance. In this paper, we carry out a systematic statistical study of quadruple BHs consisting of two binaries in orbit around their center of mass, by means of high-precision direct $N$-body simulations including Post-Newtonian (PN) terms up to 2.5PN order. We found that most merging systems have high initial inclinations and the distributions peak at $\sim 90^\circ$ as for triples, but with a more prominent broad distribution tail. We show that BHs merging through this channel have a significant eccentricity in the LIGO band, typically much larger than BHs merging in isolated binaries and in binaries ejected from star clusters, but comparable to that of merging binaries formed via the GW capture scenario in clusters, mergers in hierarchical triples, or BH binaries orbiting intermediate-mass black holes in star clusters. We show that the merger fraction can be up to $\sim 3$--$4\times$ higher for quadruples than for triples. Thus even if the number of quadruples is $20\%$--$25\%$ of the number of triples, the quadruple scenario can represent an important contribution to the events observed by LIGO/VIRGO.

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