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Hierarchical star cluster assembly boosts intermediate-mass black hole formation

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Observations and high-resolution hydrodynamical simulations indicate that massive star clusters assemble hierarchically from sub-clusters with a universal power-law cluster mass function. We study the consequences of such assembly for the formation of intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) and massive black hole (MBH) seeds at low metallicities (1% of the solar value) with our updated direct N-body code BIFROST in simulations up to N = 2.35 million stars. The GPU -accelerated code BIFROST is based on the hierarchical fourth-order forward integrator. Few-body systems are treated using secular and regularized techniques including post-Newtonian equations of motion up to order PN3 .5 and gravitational-wave recoil kicks for merging BHs. Stellar evolution is provided by the fast population synthesis code SEVN . IMBHs with masses up to 2200 solar masses form rapidly mainly via the collapse of very massive stars (VMSs) assembled through repeated collisions of massive stars followed by growth through tidal disruption events (TDEs) and BH mergers. Later the IMB Hs form subsystems resulting in gravitational-wave BH-BH, IMBH -BH and IMBH -IMBH mergers with a 1000 solar mass gravitational-wave detection being the observable prediction. Our simulations indicate that the hierarchical formation of massive star clusters in metal poor environments naturally results in formation of potential seeds for supermassive black holes.

This talk is part of the Kavli Institute for Cosmology Seminars series.

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