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Title: Advanced LIGO constraints on neutron star mergers and r-process sites

The role of compact binary mergers as the main production site of r-process elements is investigated by combining stellar abundances of Eu observed in the Milky Way, galactic chemical evolution (GCE) simulations, and binary population synthesis models, and gravitational wave measurements from Advanced LIGO. We compiled and reviewed seven recent GCE studies to extract the frequency of neutron star–neutron star (NS–NS) mergers that is needed in order to reproduce the observed [Eu/Fe] versus [Fe/H] relationship. We used our simple chemical evolution code to explore the impact of different analytical delay-time distribution functions for NS–NS mergers. We then combined our metallicity-dependent population synthesis models with our chemical evolution code to bring their predictions, for both NS–NS mergers and black hole–neutron star mergers, into a GCE context. Finally, we convolved our results with the cosmic star formation history to provide a direct comparison with current and upcoming Advanced LIGO measurements. When assuming that NS–NS mergers are the exclusive r-process sites, and that the ejected r-process mass per merger event is 0.01 M$${}_{\odot }$$, the number of NS–NS mergers needed in GCE studies is about 10 times larger than what is predicted by standard population synthesis models. Here, these two distinct fields can only be consistent with each other when assuming optimistic rates, massive NS–NS merger ejecta, and low Fe yields for massive stars. For now, population synthesis models and GCE simulations are in agreement with the current upper limit (O1) established by Advanced LIGO during their first run of observations. Upcoming measurements will provide an important constraint on the actual local NS–NS merger rate, will provide valuable insights on the plausibility of the GCE requirement, and will help to define whether or not compact binary mergers can be the dominant source of r-process elements in the universe.
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [3] ;  [1] ;  [4] ;  [5] ; ORCiD logo [6]
  1. Univ. of Victoria, Victoria, BC (Canada); Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States)
  2. Warsaw Univ., Warsaw (Poland)
  3. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  4. Univ. of Victoria, Victoria, BC (Canada)
  5. Univ. of Basel, Basel (Switzerland)
  6. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357; TRN: US1700703
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: The Astrophysical Journal (Online); Journal Volume: 836; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; Astronomy and Astrophysics
OSTI Identifier: