Scalar field dynamics in black hole spacetimes

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The birth of gravitational wave astronomy yield new instruments to investigate the strong field regime of gravity. Specifically, a new avenue is now open for direct observations of black holes, the most compact object predicted by general relativity. Additionally, gravitational waves provide novel probes for physics beyond the standard model of particle physics. In this regard, an intriguing scenario is related to ultralight massive bosonic fields, which can form macroscopic clouds around black holes through superradiance or accretion. These fields arise from string theory as axion-like particles and represent compelling wave-like dark matter candidates. In this context, the main goal of this thesis is to provide insights on the evolution of physical systems constituted by ultralight scalar fields and black holes. We first study the superradiant instability triggered by scalar fields around single rotating black holes in the case of multi-mode initial data. After that, we focus on the interaction of these ultralight scalars with binary black holes by first analyzing their dynamical features and, subsequently, studying imprints on the gravitational wave signal.
Date of Award1 Feb 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorHelvi Witek (Supervisor), Diego Blas (Supervisor) & Eugene Lim (Supervisor)

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