Exploring features in the binary black hole population

Abstract

Vamana is a mixture model framework that infers the astrophysical distribution of chirp mass, mass ratio, and spin component aligned with the orbital angular momentum for the binary black holes (BBH) population. We extend the mixing components in this framework to also model the redshift evolution of merger rate and report all the major one- and two-dimensional features in the BBH population using the 69 gravitational-wave signals detected with a false alarm rate <1 yr−1 in the third Gravitational-Wave Transient Catalog (GWTC-3). Endorsing our previous report and a recent corroborating report from LIGO Scientific, Virgo, and KAGRA Collaborations, we observe the chirp mass distribution has multiple peaks and a lack of mergers with chirp masses 10–12 M⊙. In addition, we observe that aligned spins show mass dependence with heavier binaries exhibiting larger spins, the mass ratio shows a dependence on the chirp mass but not on the aligned spin, and the redshift evolution of the merger rate for the peaks in the mass distribution is disparate. These features possibly reflect the astrophysics associated with the BBH formation channels. However, additional observations are needed to improve our limited confidence in them

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