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Ultralight Dark Matter Waves Could Solve the 'Final Parsec Problem' and Accelerate the Merging of SMBHBs

Published on Mon Nov 06 2023 by Dustin Van Tate Testa article cover photo Hubble Captures a Galactic Dance | NASA Hubble Space Telescope on Flickr

New research from Korea suggests that ultralight dark matter (ULDM) waves surrounding supermassive black hole binaries (SMBHBs) may hold the key to solving the "final parsec problem" – the issue of SMBHBs taking billions of years to merge. When two galaxies merge, a SMBHB can form at their center, but numerical simulations have shown that these binaries typically stall at a distance of a few parsecs apart. However, the researchers propose that ULDM halos around SMBHBs can generate dark matter waves that carry away orbital energy from the black holes, causing them to rapidly merge. Through numerical simulations, the team demonstrated that ULDM waves can indeed lead to the rapid orbital decay of black hole binaries. These findings could have implications for future gravitational wave probes.

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