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Intermediate-mass Black Holes from High Massive-star Binary Fractions in Young Star Clusters

González, Elena and Kremer, Kyle and Chatterjee, Sourav and Fragione, Giacomo and Rodriguez, Carl L. and Weatherford, Newlin C. and Ye, Claire S. and Rasio, Frederic A. (2021) Intermediate-mass Black Holes from High Massive-star Binary Fractions in Young Star Clusters. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 908 (2). Art. No. L29. ISSN 2041-8213.

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Black holes formed in dense star clusters, where dynamical interactions are frequent, may have fundamentally different properties than those formed through isolated stellar evolution. Theoretical models for single-star evolution predict a gap in the black hole mass spectrum from roughly 40–120 M⊙ caused by (pulsational) pair-instability supernovae. Motivated by the recent LIGO/Virgo event GW190521, we investigate whether black holes with masses within or in excess of this "upper-mass gap" can be formed dynamically in young star clusters through strong interactions of massive stars in binaries. We perform a set of N-body simulations using the CMC cluster-dynamics code to study the effects of the high-mass binary fraction on the formation and collision histories of the most massive stars and their remnants. We find that typical young star clusters with low metallicities and high binary fractions in massive stars can form several black holes in the upper-mass gap and often form at least one intermediate-mass black hole. These results provide strong evidence that dynamical interactions in young star clusters naturally lead to the formation of more massive black hole remnants.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Kremer, Kyle0000-0002-4086-3180
Chatterjee, Sourav0000-0002-3680-2684
Fragione, Giacomo0000-0002-7330-027X
Rodriguez, Carl L.0000-0003-4175-8881
Weatherford, Newlin C.0000-0002-9660-9085
Ye, Claire S.0000-0001-9582-881X
Rasio, Frederic A.0000-0002-7132-418X
Additional Information:© 2021 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2020 December 18; revised 2021 January 20; accepted 2021 January 21; published 2021 February 19. We are grateful to Mario Spera for key insights during the development of this project and we thank him for a careful reading of the manuscript. We thank the anonymous referee for helpful comments. This work was supported by NSF Grants AST-1757792 and AST-1716762 at Northwestern University. N.W. acknowledges support from the CIERA Riedel Graduate Fellowship as well as the NSF GK-12 Fellowship Program under Grant DGE-0948017. K.K. is supported by an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship under award AST-2001751. G.F. acknowledges support from a CIERA Fellowship at Northwestern University. Computations were made possible through the resources and staff contributions provided for the Quest high-performance computing facility at Northwestern University. S.C. acknowledges support of the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India, under project No. 12-R&D-TFR-5.02-0200.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA)UNSPECIFIED
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-0948017
NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics FellowshipAST-2001751
Department of Atomic Energy (India)12-R&D-TFR-5.02-0200
Subject Keywords:Young star clusters ; Intermediate-mass black holes ; Stellar mergers ; Binary stars ; N-body simulations
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Young star clusters (1833); Intermediate-mass black holes (816); Stellar mergers (2157); Binary stars (154); N-body simulations (1083)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210219-120713619
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Official Citation:Elena González et al 2021 ApJL 908 L29
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108127
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:19 Feb 2021 20:39
Last Modified:19 Feb 2021 20:39

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