The existence of inner cool disks in the low/hard state of accreting black holes

B. F. Liu*, Ronald E. Taam, E. Meyer-Hofmeister, F. Meyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


The condensation of matter from a corona to a cool, optically thick inner disk is investigated for black hole X-ray transient systems in the low/hard state. A description of a simple model for the exchange of energy and mass between corona and disk originating from thermal conduction is presented, taking into account the effect of Compton cooling of the corona by photons from the underlying disk. It is found that a weak, condensation-fed inner disk can be present in the low/hard state of black hole transient systems for a range of luminosities that depends on the magnitude of the viscosity parameter. For α ∼ 0.1-0.4, an inner disk can exist for luminosities in the range ∼(0.001-0.02)LEdd. The model is applied to the X-ray observations of the black hole candidate sources GX 339-4 and SWIFT J1753.5-0127 in their low/hard state. It is found that Compton cooling is important in the condensation process, leading to the maintenance of cool inner disks in both systems. As the results of the evaporation/condensation model are independent of the black hole mass, it is suggested that such inner cool disks may contribute to the optical and ultraviolet emission of low-luminosity active galactic nuclei.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-705
Number of pages11
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 10 2007


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Black hole physics
  • Stars: individual (GX 339-4, SWIFT J1753.5-0127)
  • X-rays: binaries
  • X-rays: stars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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