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Journal Articles Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Year : 2021

Forming massive seed black holes in high-redshift quasar host progenitors

Alessandro Lupi
  • Function : Author
Zoltan Haiman
  • Function : Author
Marta Volonteri


The presence of massive black holes (BHs) with masses of the order of |$10^9\, {\rm M_\odot }$|⁠, powering bright quasars when the Universe was less than 1 Gyr old, poses strong constraints on their formation mechanism. Several scenarios have been proposed to date to explain massive BH formation, from the low-mass seed BH remnants of the first generation of stars to the massive seed BHs resulting from the rapid collapse of massive gas clouds. However, the plausibility of some of these scenarios to occur within the progenitors of high-z quasars has not yet been thoroughly explored. In this work, we investigate, by combining dark-matter only N-body simulations with a semi-analytic framework, whether the conditions for the formation of massive seed BHs from synchronized atomic-cooling halo pairs and/or dynamically heated (DH) mini-haloes are fulfilled in the overdense regions where the progenitors of a typical high-redshift quasar host form and evolve. Our analysis shows that the peculiar conditions in such regions, i.e. strong halo clustering and high star formation rates, are crucial to produce a non-negligible number of massive seed BH host candidates: we find ≈1400 DH metal-free mini-haloes, including one of these which evolves to a synchronized pair and ends up in the massive quasar-host halo by z = 6. This demonstrates that the progenitors of high-redshift quasar host haloes can harbour early massive seed BHs. Our results further suggest that multiple massive seed BHs may form in or near the quasar host’s progenitors, potentially merging at lower redshifts and yielding gravitational wave events.
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hal-03157130 , version 1 (04-05-2023)



Alessandro Lupi, Zoltan Haiman, Marta Volonteri. Forming massive seed black holes in high-redshift quasar host progenitors. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2021, 503 (4), pp.5046-5060. ⟨10.1093/mnras/stab692⟩. ⟨hal-03157130⟩
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