Primordial black hole merger rates: distributions for multiple LIGO observables

Andrew David Gow*, Christian T. Byrnes, Alex Hall, John A. Peacock

*Corresponding author for this work

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We have calculated the detectable merger rate of primordial black holes, as a function of the redshift, as well as the binary's mass ratio, total mass and chirp mass (observables that have not previously been explored in great detail for PBHs). We consider both the current and design sensitivity of LIGO and five different primordial black hole mass functions, as well as showing a comparison to a predicted astrophysical black hole merger rate. We show that the empirical preference for nearly equal-mass binaries in current LIGO/Virgo data can be consistent with a PBH hypothesis once observational selection effects are taken into account. However, current data do exclude some PBH mass distributions, and future data may be able to rule out the possibility that all observed BH mergers had a primordial origin.
Original languageEnglish
Article number031
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Issue number01
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Primordial black holes
  • Gravitational wave sources
  • UKRI
  • STFC


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