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Astrophysics > Astrophysics of Galaxies

Title: The route to massive black hole formation via merger-driven direct collapse: a review

Abstract: In this paper we review a new scenario for the formation of massive black hole seeds that relies on multi-scale gas inflows initiated by the merger of massive gas-rich galaxies at $z > 6$, where gas has already achieved solar composition. Hydrodynamical simulations undertaken to explore our scenario show that supermassive, gravitationally bound gaseous disks, weighing a billion solar masses and of a few pc in size, form in the nuclei of merger remnants in less than $10^5$ yr. These could later produce a supermassive protostar or supermassive star at their center via various mechanisms. Moreover, we present a new analytical model, based on angular momentum transport in mass-loaded gravitoturbulent disks. This naturally predicts that a nuclear disk accreting at rates exceeding $1000 M_{\odot}$/yr, as seen in the simulations, is stable against fragmentation irrespective of its metallicity. This is at variance with conventional direct collapse scenarios, which require the suppression of gas cooling in metal-free protogalaxies for gas collapse to take place. Such high accretion rates reflect the high free-fall velocities in massive halos appearing at $z < 10$, and occur naturally as a result of the efficient angular momentum loss provided by mergers. We discuss the implications of our scenario on the observed population of high-z quasars and on its evolution to lower redshifts using a semi-analytical galaxy formation model. Finally, we consider the intriguing possibility that the secondary gas inflows in the unstable disks might drive gas to collapse into a supermassive black hole directly via the General Relativistic radial instability. Such {\it dark collapse} route could generate gravitational wave emission detectable via the future Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). [Abridged]
Comments: Invited Review submitted to Reports of Progress in Physics, version revised after referee reports. Comments are welcome
Subjects: Astrophysics of Galaxies (astro-ph.GA)
Cite as: arXiv:1803.06391 [astro-ph.GA]
  (or arXiv:1803.06391v1 [astro-ph.GA] for this version)

Submission history

From: Silvia Bonoli [view email]
[v1] Fri, 16 Mar 2018 20:30:28 GMT (2542kb)