LIGO Document T2300368-v1

Using Mass-Spin Correlations to Probe the Tidal Spin-up and Formation Origins of Binary Black Holes

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T - Technical notes
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Gravitational waves contain information about the properties of the binary black holes (BBHs) that produce them, such as their masses and spins. With 69 confident (FAR 1 yr−1) BBHs in the third Gravitational Wave Transient Catalog (GWTC-3), it becomes possible to deduce bulk population properties of merging black holes (BHs) and hence probe their formation origins. Recent theoretical work has suggested that it is possible for the second-evolved BH to attain non-zero spin via tidal forces, and that this spin should be correlated with its mass. We construct a simple heuristic model that correlates the mass and spin of the higher-spinning BH. We evaluate its validity as a probe of the field formation scenario by hierarchically analyzing mock BBH detections drawn from an astrophysical distribution. We show that the model mis-specification from assuming a simple linear correlation can lead to the misleading conclusion that the underlying distribution broadens as we move farther away from the pivot mass. Finally, we also fit these models to GWTC-3 data

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