[1205.5017] Structure and evolution of circumbinary disks around supermassive black hole (SMBH) binaries

Authors: Roman R. Rafikov (Princeton)

Date: 22 May 2012

Abstract: It is generally believed that gaseous disks around supermassive black hole (SMBH) binaries in centers of galaxies can facilitate binary merger and give rise to observational signatures both in electromagnetic and gravitational wave domains. We explore general properties of circumbinary disks by reformulating standard equations for the viscous disk evolution in terms of the viscous angular momentum flux F_J. In steady state F_J is a linear function of the specific angular momentum, which is a generalization of (but is not equivalent to) the standard constant \dot M disk solution. If the torque produced by the central binary is effective at stopping gas inflow and opening a gap (or cavity) in the disk, then the inner part of the circumbinary disk can be approximated as a constant F_J disk. We compute properties of such disks in different physical regimes relevant for SMBH binaries and use these results to understand the gas-assisted evolution of SMBH pairs starting at separations 10ˆ{-4}-10ˆ{-2} pc. We find the following. (1) Pile-up of matter at the inner edge of the disk leads to continuous growth of the torque acting on the binary and can considerably accelerate its orbital evolution compared to the gravitational wave-driven decay. (2) Torque on the binary is determined non-locally and does not in general reflect the disk properties in the vicinity of the binary. (3) Binary evolution depends on the past history of the disk evolution. (4) Eddington limit can be important in circumbinary disks even if they accrete at sub-Eddington rates at late stages of binary evolution. (5) Circumbinary disk self-consistently evolved under the action of the binary torque emits more power and has spectrum different from the spectrum of constant \dot M disk - it is steeper (\nu F_\nu\propto \nuˆ{12/7}) and extends to shorter wavelength, facilitating its detection.

abs pdf

May 24, 2012

1205.5017 (/preprints)
2012-05-24, 14:22 [edit]

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