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  1. Abstract Stellar-mass BHs (sBHs) are predicted to be embedded in active galactic nucleus (AGN) disks owing to gravitational drag and in situ star formation. However, we find that, due to a high gas density in an AGN disk environment, compact objects may rapidly grow to intermediate-mass BHs and deplete matter from the AGN disk unless accretion is suppressed by some feedback process(es). These consequences are inconsistent with AGN observations and the dynamics of the Galactic center. Here we consider mechanical feedback mechanisms for the reduction of gas accretion. Rapidly accreting sBHs launch winds and/or jets via the Blandford–Znajek mechanism, which produce high-pressure shocks and cocoons. Such a shock and cocoon can spread laterally in the plane of the disk, eject the outer regions of a circum-sBH disk (CsBD), and puncture a hole in the AGN disk with horizontal size comparable to the disk scale height. Since the depletion timescale of the bound CsBD is much shorter than the resupply timescale of gas to the sBH, the time-averaged accretion rate onto sBHs is reduced by this process by a factor of ∼10–100. This feedback mechanism can therefore help alleviate the sBH overgrowth and AGN disk depletion problems. On the other hand,more »we find that cocoons of jets can unbind a large fraction of the gas accreting in the disks of less massive supermassive BHs (SMBHs), which may help explain the dearth of high-Eddington-ratio AGNs with SMBH mass ≲ 10 5 M ⊙ .« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  2. ABSTRACT Recent gravitational wave (GW) observations by LIGO/Virgo show evidence for hierarchical mergers, where the merging BHs are the remnants of previous BH merger events. These events may carry important clues about the astrophysical host environments of the GW sources. In this paper, we present the distributions of the effective spin parameter (χeff), the precession spin parameter (χp), and the chirp mass (mchirp) expected in hierarchical mergers. Under a wide range of assumptions, hierarchical mergers produce (i) a monotonic increase of the average of the typical total spin for merging binaries, which we characterize with $\scriptstyle{{\bar{\chi }}_\mathrm{typ}\equiv \overline{(\chi _\mathrm{eff}^2+\chi _\mathrm{p}^2)^{1/2}}}$, up to roughly the maximum mchirp among first-generation (1g) BHs, and (ii) a plateau at ${\bar{\chi }}_\mathrm{typ}\sim 0.6$ at higher mchirp. We suggest that the maximum mass and typical spin magnitudes for 1g BHs can be estimated from ${\bar{\chi }}_\mathrm{typ}$ as a function of mchirp. The GW data observed in LIGO/Virgo O1–O3a prefers an increase in ${\bar{\chi }}_\mathrm{typ}$ at low mchirp, which is consistent with the growth of the BH spin magnitude by hierarchical mergers at ∼2σ confidence. A Bayesian analysis using the χeff, χp, and mchirp distributions suggests that 1g BHs have the maximum mass of ∼15–$30\, {\rm M}_\odot$more »if the majority of mergers are of high-generation BHs (not among 1g–1g BHs), which is consistent with mergers in active galactic nucleus discs and/or nuclear star clusters, while if mergers mainly originate from globular clusters, 1g BHs are favoured to have non-zero spin magnitudes of ∼0.3. We also forecast that signatures for hierarchical mergers in the ${\bar{\chi }}_\mathrm{typ}$ distribution can be confidently recovered once the number of GW events increases to ≳ O(100).« less