Compact Dark Objects in Neutron Star Mergers

Andreas Bauswein, Gang Guo, Jr-Hua Lien, Yen-Hsun Lin, Meng-Ru Wu 2020 2012.11908  

We estimate the long-lasting gravitational wave (GW) emission of compact dark objects following a binary neutron-star (NS) merger. We consider compact dark objects, which initially reside in the centers of NSs and which may consist of self-interacting dark matter (DM). By approximating the compact dark objects as test particles, we model the merging of NS binaries hosting DM components with three-dimensional relativistic simulations. Our simulation results suggest that the DM components remain gravitationally bound and orbit inside the merger remnant with orbital separations of typically a few km. The subsequent orbital motion of the DM components generates a GW signal with frequencies in the range of a few kHz. When considering a range of different binary masses and high-density equations of state (EoS), we find that the GW frequency of the orbiting DM components scales with the compactness of NSs. Similarly, we find relations between the DM GW frequency and the dominant postmerger GW frequency of the stellar fluid or the tidal deformability, which quantifies EoS effects during the binary inspiral. Hence, a measurement of these quantities can be used to specify the frequency range of the GW emission by DM. Under the assumption that GW back reaction is the only relevant dissipative process, the GW signal may last between seconds and years depending on the mass of the DM component. We estimate the detectability of the GW signals and find that DM components in NS mergers may only be detectable with existing and projected GW instruments if the dark objects are as massive as about 0.01 to 0.1 M_sun. We emphasize that the GW emission is limited by the lifetime of the remnant. A forming black hole will immediately swallow the DM objects because their orbits are smaller than the innermost stable circular orbit of the black hole.