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  1. Abstract

    Gravitational-wave (GW) detections of binary black hole (BH) mergers have begun to sample the cosmic BH mass distribution. The evolution of single stellar cores predicts a gap in the BH mass distribution due to pair-instability supernovae (PISNe). Determining the upper and lower edges of the BH mass gap can be useful for interpreting GW detections of merging BHs. We useMESAto evolve single, nonrotating, massive helium cores with a metallicity ofZ= 10−5, until they either collapse to form a BH or explode as a PISN, without leaving a compact remnant. We calculate the boundaries of the lower BH mass gap for S-factors in the range S(300 keV) = (77,203) keV b, corresponding to the ±3σuncertainty in our high-resolution tabulated12C(α,γ)16O reaction rate probability distribution function. We extensively test temporal and spatial resolutions for resolving the theoretical peak of the BH mass spectrum across the BH mass gap. We explore the convergence with respect to convective mixing and nuclear burning, finding that significant time resolution is needed to achieve convergence. We also test adopting a minimum diffusion coefficient to help lower-resolution models reach convergence. We establish a new lower edge of the upper mass gap asMlower6014+32Mfrom the ±3σuncertainty inmore »the12C(α,γ)16O rate. We explore the effect of a larger 3αrate on the lower edge of the upper mass gap, findingMlower6918+34M. We compare our results with BHs reported in the Gravitational-Wave Transient Catalog.

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