New PhD-project 2013-2017 (Student: Matthias Kruckow)
Funded by the DFG

Formation of Neutron Star / Black Hole Binaries and Their Merger Rate in the Local Universe

The expected detection of gravitational waves will open a new window to the Universe and compliment our knowledge of astrophysical sources obtained from photons and neutrinos. The advanced LIGO (Laser Interferometer ravitational-Wave Observatory) detector, together with its European sister VIRGO and the German detector GEO 600, will be operational in 2015 and reach full sensitivity in 2019. The most promising candidate sources for transient burst detections of high-frequency gravitational waves (10 Hz - 10 kHz) are merging neutron stars (NS) and black holes (BH). These compact objects are formed in tight binaries and undergo spiral-in due to continuous emission of gravitational waves until they finally merge in a violent transient event.

The main aim of this project is to calculate theoretically the rate of such merging NS/BH in the local Universe using our best up-to-date knowledge of stellar and binary evolution. These results will be compared to the upcoming LIGO detection rates which will enable us to further constrain the input physics behind key binary stellar interactions.
A second aim of this project is to better understand - and to quantify - the formation, the location, the properties and the lifetimes of Galactic recycled radio pulsars orbiting NS or BH. Whereas we know of 9 radio pulsars orbiting another NS we still have no detections of a radio pulsar orbiting a BH. With this project we hope to gain theoretical knowledge about such systems which will enhance the chance of success in future radio surveys.
A third outcome of this study is therefore a better knowledge of the evolution of high-mass X-ray binaries.

To model the population of compact binaries the evolution of a large sample of binary star systems is needed in order to predict the number of both observable radio pulsars orbiting NS and BH as well as the LIGO detection rate of mergers. To achieve these goals we make use of advanced population synthesis techniques with Monte Carlo simulations and explore new aspects of massive binary stellar evolution for the first time.

R. Voss and T. M. Tauris (2003), MNRAS, 342, 1169-1184

Prof. Dr. Thomas Tauris (tauris (at)
Co-supervisors: Prof. Dr. Michael Kramer, Prof. Dr. N. Langer

Argelander Institute for Astronomy, University of Bonn
Max-Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Bonn
Last Modified: 2017/04/04 Design © 2010 Fabian Schneider