Can binary mergers produce maximally spinning black holes?

Kesden, Michael
Description
Gravitational waves carry away both energy and angular momentum as binary black holes inspiral and merge. The relative efficiency with which they are radiated determines whether the final black hole of mass $M_f$ and spin $S_f$ saturates the Kerr limit ($\chi_f \equiv S_f/M_f^2 \leq 1$). Extrapolating from the test-particle limit, we propose expressions for $S_f$ and $M_f$ for mergers with initial spins aligned or anti-aligned with the orbital angular momentum. We predict the the final spin at plunge for equal-mass non-spinning binaries to better than 1%, and that equal-mass maximally spinning aligned mergers lead to nearly maximally spinning final black holes ($\chi_f \simeq 0.9988$). We also find black holes can always be spun up by aligned mergers provided the mass ratio is small enough.
Comment: 4 pages, 6 figues, sublitted to PRL
Keywords
Astrophysics, General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology