Binary black-hole mergers in magnetized disks: Simulations in full general relativity

Brian D. Farris, Roman Gold, Vasileios Paschalidis, Zachariah B. Etienne, Stuart L. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


We present results from the first fully general relativistic, magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of an equal-mass black-hole binary (BHBH) in a magnetized, circumbinary accretion disk. We simulate both the pre- and postdecoupling phases of a BHBH-disk system and both "cooling" and "no-cooling" gas flows. Prior to decoupling, the competition between the binary tidal torques and the effective viscous torques due to MHD turbulence depletes the disk interior to the binary orbit. However, it also induces a two-stream accretion flow and mildly relativistic polar outflows from the BHs. Following decoupling, but before gas fills the low-density "hollow" surrounding the remnant, the accretion rate is reduced, while there is a prompt electromagnetic luminosity enhancement following merger due to shock heating and accretion onto the spinning BH remnant. This investigation, though preliminary, previews more detailed general relativistic, MHD simulations we plan to perform in anticipation of future, simultaneous detections of gravitational and electromagnetic radiation from a merging BHBH-disk system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number221102
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 27 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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