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  1. Abstract The disks of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) may be important sites of binary black hole (BBH) mergers. Here we show via numerical experiments with the high-accuracy, high-precision code SpaceHub that broken symmetry in dynamical encounters in AGN disks can lead to asymmetry between prograde and retrograde BBH mergers. The direction of the hardening asymmetry depends on the initial binary semimajor axis. Under the assumption that the spin of the BHs becomes aligned with the angular momentum of the disk on a short timescale compared with the encounter timescale, an asymmetric distribution of mass-weighted projected spin χ eff is predicted in LIGO–Virgo detections of BBH mergers from AGN disks. In particular, this model predicts that positive χ eff BBH mergers are most likely for encounters with massive tertiaries in migration traps at radial distances ≳500–600 gravitational radii.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  2. ABSTRACT Mergers of binaries comprising compact objects can give rise to explosive transient events, heralding the birth of exotic objects that cannot be formed through single-star evolution. Using a large number of direct N-body simulations, we explore the possibility that a white dwarf (WD) is dynamically driven to tidal disruption by a stellar-mass black hole (BH) as a consequence of the joint effects of gravitational wave (GW) emission and Lidov–Kozai oscillations imposed by the tidal field of an outer tertiary companion orbiting the inner BH–WD binary. We explore the sensitivity of our results to the distributions of natal kick velocities imparted to the BH and WD upon formation, adiabatic mass loss, semimajor axes and eccentricities of the triples, and stellar-mass ratios. We find rates of WD–tidal disruption events (TDEs) in the range 1.2 × 10−3 − 1.4 Gpc−3 yr−1 for z ≤ 0.1, rarer than stellar TDEs in triples by a factor of ∼3–30. The uncertainty in the TDE rates may be greatly reduced in the future using GW observations of Galactic binaries and triples with LISA. WD–TDEs may give rise to high-energy X-ray or gamma-ray transients of duration similar to long gamma-ray bursts but lacking the signatures of a core-collapse supernova,more »while being accompanied by a supernova-like optical transient that lasts for only days. WD–BH and WD–NS binaries will also emit GWs in the LISA band before the TDE. The discovery and identification of triple-induced WD–TDE events by future time domain surveys and/or GWs could enable the study of the demographics of BHs in nearby galaxies.« less
  3. Abstract In this paper, we continue our study on the evolution of black holes (BHs) that receive velocity kicks at the origin of their host star cluster potential. We now focus on BHs in rotating clusters that receive a range of kick velocities in different directions with respect to the rotation axis. We perform N-body simulations to calculate the trajectories of the kicked BHs and develop an analytic framework to study their motion as a function of the host cluster and the kick itself. Our simulations indicate that for a BH that is kicked outside of the cluster’s core, as its orbit decays in a rotating cluster the BH will quickly gain angular momentum as it interacts with stars with high rotational frequencies. Once the BH decays to the point where its orbital frequency equals that of local stars, its orbit will be circular and dynamical friction becomes ineffective since local stars will have low relative velocities. After circularization, the BH’s orbit decays on a longer time-scale than if the host cluster was not rotating. Hence BHs in rotating clusters will have longer orbital decay times. The time-scale for orbit circularization depends strongly on the cluster’s rotation rate and themore »initial kick velocity, with kicked BHs in slowly rotating clusters being able to decay into the core before circularization occurs. The implication of the circularization phase is that the probability of a BH undergoing a tidal capture event increases, possibly aiding in the formation of binaries and high-mass BHs.« less