Successive Merger of Multiple Massive Black Holes in a Primordial Galaxy
Tanikawa, A., & Umemura, M.
Using highly accurate N-body simulations, we explore the evolution of multiple massive black holes (hereafter MBHs) in a primordial galaxy that is composed of stars and MBHs. The evolution is pursed with a fourth-order Hermite scheme, where not only three- body interaction of MBHs but also dynamical friction by stars are incorporated. Initially, 10 MBHs with equal masses of 10$^7$ M $_sun$ are set in a host galaxy with 10$^11$ M $_sun$. It is found that 4-6 MBHs merge successively within 1 Gyr, emitting gravitational wave radiation. The key process for the successive merger of MBHs is the dynamical friction by field stars, which enhances three-body interactions of MBHs when they enter the central regions of the galaxy. The heaviest MBH always composes a close binary at the galactic center, which shrinks owing to the angular momentum transfer by the third MBH and eventually merges. The angular momentum transfer by the third MBH is due to the sling-shot mechanism. We find that the secular Kozai mechanism does not work for a binary to merge if we include the relativistic pericenter shift. The simulations show that a multiple MBH system can produce a heavier MBH at the galactic center purely through N-body process. This merger path can be of great significance for the growth of MBHs in a primordial galaxy. The merger of multiple MBHs may be a potential source of gravitational waves for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna and pulsar timing.