Double compact objects. II. Cosmological merger rates

Michal Dominik, Krzysztof Belczynski, Christopher Fryer, Daniel E. Holz, Emanuele Berti, Tomasz Bulik, Ilya Mandel, Richard O'Shaughnessy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

271 Citations (Scopus)


The development of advanced gravitational wave (GW) observatories, such as Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo, provides impetus to refine theoretical predictions for what these instruments might detect. In particular, with the range increasing by an order of magnitude, the search for GW sources is extending beyond the "local" universe and out to cosmological distances. Double compact objects (neutron star-neutron star (NS-NS), black hole-neutron star (BH-NS), and black hole-black hole (BH-BH) systems) are considered to be the most promising GW sources. In addition, NS-NS and/or BH-NS systems are thought to be the progenitors of gamma-ray bursts and may also be associated with kilonovae. In this paper, we present the merger event rates of these objects as a function of cosmological redshift. We provide the results for four cases, each one investigating a different important evolution parameter of binary stars. Each case is also presented for two metallicity evolution scenarios. We find that (1) in most cases NS-NS systems dominate the merger rates in the local universe, while BH-BH mergers dominate at high redshift, (2) BH-NS mergers are less frequent than other sources per unit volume, for all time, and (3) natal kicks may alter the observable properties of populations in a significant way, allowing the underlying models of binary evolution and compact object formation to be easily distinguished. This is the second paper in a series of three. The third paper will focus on calculating the detection rates of mergers by GW telescopes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number72
Number of pages13
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • cosmology: miscellaneous
  • stars: black holes
  • stars: neutron

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