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Effects of primordial black holes on early star formation

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Primordial black holes (PBHs) have long been considered a promising candidate or an important component of dark matter (DM). Recent gravitational wave (GW) observations of binary black hole (BH) mergers have triggered renewed interest in PBHs in the stellar-mass (∼ 10 − 100 Msun) and supermassive regimes (∼ 107 − 1011 Msun). Although only a small fraction (≲ 1%) of dark matter in the form of PBHs is required to explain observations, these PBHs may play important roles in early structure/star formation. We use cosmological zoom-in simulations and semi-analytical models to explore the possible impact of stellar-mass PBHs on first star formation, taking into account two effects of PBHs: acceleration of structure formation and gas heating by BH accretion feedback. We find that the standard picture of first star formation is not changed by stellar-mass PBHs (allowed by existing observational constraints), and their global impact on the cosmic star formation history is likely minor. However, PBHs do alter the properties of the first star-forming halos and can potentially trigger the formation of direct-collapse BHs in atomic cooling halos. On the other hand, supermassive PBHs may play more important roles as seeds of massive structures that can explain the apparent overabundance of massive galaxies in recent JWST observations. Our tentative models and results call for future studies with improved modelling of the interactions between PBHs, particle DM, and baryons to better understand the effects of PBHs on early structure/star formation and their imprints in high-redshift observations.

This talk is part of the Galaxies Discussion Group series.

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