Disentangling the potential dark matter origin of LIGO's black holes

Ryan Magee, Chad Hanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The nature of dark matter (DM) remains one of the biggest open questions in physics. One intriguing DM candidate, primordial black holes (PBHs), has faced renewed interest following the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatorys (LIGO) detection of gravitational waves from merging stellar mass black holes. While subsequent work has ruled out the possibility that DM could consist solely of black holes similar to those that LIGO has detected with masses above 10 MO., LIGOs connection to DM remains unknown. In this work, we consider a distribution of PBHs that accounts for all of the DM, is consistent with all of LIGOs observations arising from PBH binaries, and resolves tension in previous surveys of microlensing events in the Milky Way halo. The PBH mass distribution that we consider offers an important prediction-LIGO may detect black holes smaller than have ever been observed with ∼1% of the black holes it detects having a mass less than the mass of our Sun and ∼10% with masses in the mass gap. Approximately one year of operating advanced LIGO at design sensitivity should be adequate to begin to see a hint of a primordial black hole mass distribution. Detecting PBH binaries below a solar mass will be readily distinguishable from other known compact binary systems, thereby providing an unambiguous observational window for advanced LIGO to pin down the nature of DM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL13
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume845
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 20 2017

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LIGO (observatory)
dark matter
gravitational waves
interferometer
laser
interferometers
lasers
mass distribution
stellar mass
physics
halos
sun

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

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Disentangling the potential dark matter origin of LIGO's black holes. / Magee, Ryan; Hanna, Chad.

In: Astrophysical Journal Letters, Vol. 845, No. 2, L13, 20.08.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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