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    Neutron star–black hole (NSBH) mergers detected in gravitational waves have the potential to shed light on supernova physics, the dense matter equation of state, and the astrophysical processes that power their potential electromagnetic counterparts. We use the population of four candidate NSBH events detected in gravitational waves so far with a false alarm rate ≤1 yr−1 to constrain the mass and spin distributions and multimessenger prospects of these systems. We find that the black holes in NSBHs are both less massive and have smaller dimensionless spins than those in black hole binaries. We also find evidence for a mass gap between the most massive neutron stars and least massive black holes in NSBHs at 98.6-per cent credibility. Using an approach driven by gravitational-wave data rather than binary simulations, we find that fewer than 14 per cent of NSBH mergers detectable in gravitational waves will have an electromagnetic counterpart. While the inferred presence of a mass gap and fraction of sources with a counterpart depend on the event selection and prior knowledge of source classification, the conclusion that the black holes in NSBHs have lower masses and smaller spin parameters than those in black hole binaries is robust. Finally, we propose a method for themore »multimessenger analysis of NSBH mergers based on the non-detection of an electromagnetic counterpart and conclude that, even in the most optimistic case, the constraints on the neutron star equation of state that can be obtained with multimessenger NSBH detections are not competitive with those from gravitational-wave measurements of tides in binary neutron star mergers and radio and X-ray pulsar observations.

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  2. Abstract The possible existence of primordial black holes in the stellar-mass window has received considerable attention because their mergers may contribute to current and future gravitational-wave detections. Primordial black hole mergers, together with mergers of black holes originating from Population III stars, are expected to dominate at high redshifts ( z ≳ 10). However, the primordial black hole merger rate density is expected to rise monotonically with redshift, while Population III mergers can only occur after the birth of the first stars. Next-generation gravitational-wave detectors such as the Cosmic Explorer (CE) and Einstein Telescope (ET) can access this distinctive feature in the merger rates as functions of redshift, allowing for direct measurement of the abundance of the two populations and hence for robust constraints on the abundance of primordial black holes. We simulate four months’ worth of data observed by a CE-ET detector network and perform hierarchical Bayesian analysis to recover the merger rate densities. We find that if the universe has no primordial black holes with masses of  ( 10 M ⊙ ) , the projected upper limit on their abundance f PBH as a fraction of dark matter energy density may be as low as f PBHmore »∼  ( 10 − 5 ) , about two orders of magnitude lower than the current upper limits in this mass range. If instead f PBH ≳ 10 −4 , future gravitational-wave observations would exclude f PBH = 0 at the 95% credible interval.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  3. Abstract The population-level distributions of the masses, spins, and redshifts of binary black holes (BBHs) observed using gravitational waves can shed light on how these systems form and evolve. Because of the complex astrophysical processes shaping the inferred BBH population, models allowing for correlations among these parameters will be necessary to fully characterize these sources. We hierarchically analyze the BBH population detected by LIGO and Virgo with a model allowing for correlations between the effective aligned spin and the primary mass and redshift. We find that the width of the effective spin distribution grows with redshift at 98.6% credibility. We determine this trend to be robust under the application of several alternative models and additionally verify that such a correlation is unlikely to be spuriously introduced using a simulated population. We discuss the possibility that this correlation could be due to a change in the natal black hole spin distribution with redshift.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  6. Abstract

    The existence of primordial black holes (PBHs), which may form from the collapse of matter overdensities shortly after the Big Bang, is still under debate. Among the potential signatures of PBHs are gravitational waves (GWs) emitted from binary black hole (BBH) mergers at redshiftsz≳ 30, where the formation of astrophysical black holes is unlikely. Future ground-based GW detectors, the Cosmic Explorer and Einstein Telescope, will be able to observe equal-mass BBH mergers with total mass of(10100)Mat such distances. In this work, we investigate whether the redshift measurement of a single BBH source can be precise enough to establish its primordial origin. We simulate BBHs of different masses, mass ratios and orbital orientations. We show that for BBHs with total masses between 20Mand 40Mmerging atz≥ 40, one can inferz> 30 at up to 97% credibility, with a network of one Einstein Telescope, one 40 km Cosmic Explorer in the US, and one 20 km Cosmic Explorer in Australia. This number reduces to 94% with a smaller network made of one Einstein Telescope and one 40 km Cosmic Explorer in the US. We also analyze how the measurement depends on the Bayesian priors usedmore »in the analysis and verify that priors that strongly favor the wrong model yield smaller Bayesian evidences.

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  7. Abstract

    The Wide-Field Infrared Transient Explorer (WINTER) is a new 1 deg2seeing-limited time-domain survey instrument designed for dedicated near-infrared follow-up of kilonovae from binary neutron star (BNS) and neutron star–black hole mergers. WINTER will observe in the near-infraredY,J, and short-Hbands (0.9–1.7μm, toJAB= 21 mag) on a dedicated 1 m telescope at Palomar Observatory. To date, most prompt kilonova follow-up has been in optical wavelengths; however, near-infrared emission fades more slowly and depends less on geometry and viewing angle than optical emission. We present an end-to-end simulation of a follow-up campaign during the fourth observing run (O4) of the LIGO, Virgo, and KAGRA interferometers, including simulating 625 BNS mergers, their detection in gravitational waves, low-latency and full parameter estimation skymaps, and a suite of kilonova lightcurves from two different model grids. We predict up to five new kilonovae independently discovered by WINTER during O4, given a realistic BNS merger rate. Using a larger grid of kilonova parameters, we find that kilonova emission is ≈2 times longer lived and red kilonovae are detected ≈1.5 times further in the infrared than in the optical. For 90% localization areas smaller than 150 (450) deg2, WINTER will be sensitive to more than 10% of themore »kilonova model grid out to 350 (200) Mpc. We develop a generalized toolkit to create an optimal BNS follow-up strategy with any electromagnetic telescope and present WINTER’s observing strategy with this framework. This toolkit, all simulated gravitational-wave events, and skymaps are made available for use by the community.

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