Post-Newtonian dynamics in dense star clusters: Formation, masses, and merger rates of highly-eccentric black hole binaries

Carl L. Rodriguez, Pau Amaro-Seoane, Sourav Chatterjee, Kyle Kremer, Frederic A. Rasio, Johan Samsing, Claire S. Ye, Michael Zevin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


Using state-of-the-art dynamical simulations of globular clusters, including radiation reaction during black hole encounters and a cosmological model of star cluster formation, we create a realistic population of dynamically formed binary black hole mergers across cosmic space and time. We show that in the local universe, 10% of these binaries form as the result of gravitational-wave emission between unbound black holes during chaotic resonant encounters, with roughly half of those events having eccentricities detectable by current ground-based gravitational-wave detectors. The mergers that occur inside clusters typically have lower masses than binaries that were ejected from the cluster many Gyrs ago. Gravitational-wave captures from globular clusters contribute 1-2 Gpc-3 yr-1 to the binary merger rate in the local universe, increasing to 10 Gpc-3 yr-1 at z∼3. Finally, we discuss some of the technical difficulties associated with post-Newtonian scattering encounters, and how care must be taken when measuring the binary parameters during a dynamical capture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number123005
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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