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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  2. Intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) span the approximate mass range 100−10 5   M ⊙ , between black holes (BHs) that formed by stellar collapse and the supermassive BHs at the centers of galaxies. Mergers of IMBH binaries are the most energetic gravitational-wave sources accessible by the terrestrial detector network. Searches of the first two observing runs of Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo did not yield any significant IMBH binary signals. In the third observing run (O3), the increased network sensitivity enabled the detection of GW190521, a signal consistent with a binary merger of mass ∼150  M ⊙ providing direct evidencemore »of IMBH formation. Here, we report on a dedicated search of O3 data for further IMBH binary mergers, combining both modeled (matched filter) and model-independent search methods. We find some marginal candidates, but none are sufficiently significant to indicate detection of further IMBH mergers. We quantify the sensitivity of the individual search methods and of the combined search using a suite of IMBH binary signals obtained via numerical relativity, including the effects of spins misaligned with the binary orbital axis, and present the resulting upper limits on astrophysical merger rates. Our most stringent limit is for equal mass and aligned spin BH binary of total mass 200  M ⊙ and effective aligned spin 0.8 at 0.056 Gpc −3 yr −1 (90% confidence), a factor of 3.5 more constraining than previous LIGO-Virgo limits. We also update the estimated rate of mergers similar to GW190521 to 0.08 Gpc −3 yr −1 .« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  3. Abstract Accreting supermassive binary black holes (SMBBHs) are potential multimessenger sources because they emit both gravitational-wave and electromagnetic (EM) radiation. Past work has shown that their EM output may be periodically modulated by an asymmetric density distribution in the circumbinary disk, often called an “overdensity” or “lump;” this modulation could possibly be used to identify a source as a binary. We explore the sensitivity of the overdensity to SMBBH mass ratio and magnetic flux through the accretion disk. We find that the relative amplitude of the overdensity and its associated EM periodic signal both degrade with diminishing mass ratio, vanishingmore »altogether somewhere between 1:2 and 1:5. Greater magnetization also weakens the lump and any modulation of the light output. We develop a model to describe how lump formation results from internal stress degrading faster in the lump region than it can be rejuvenated through accretion inflow, and predicts a threshold value in specific internal stress below which lump formation should occur and which all our lump-forming simulations satisfy. Thus, detection of such a modulation would provide a constraint on both mass ratio and magnetic flux piercing the accretion flow.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 29, 2022
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 29, 2022
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