Impact of dust cooling on direct-collapse black hole formation

M. A. Latif, K. Omukai, M. Habouzit, D. R.G. Schleicher, M. Volonteri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Observations of quasars at z > 6 suggest the presence of black holes with a few times 109 M. Numerous models have been proposed to explain their existence, including a direct collapse, which provides massive seeds of 105 M. The isothermal direct collapse requires a strong Lyman-Werner (LW) flux to quench H2 formation in massive primordial halos. In this study, we explore the impact of trace amounts of metals and dust enrichment. We perform three-dimensional cosmological simulations for two halos of >107 M with = 10-4-10-6 illuminated by an intense LW flux of J21 = 105. Our results show that initially the collapse proceeds isothermally with T ∼ 8000 K, but dust cooling becomes effective at densities of 108-1012cm-3 and brings the gas temperature down to a few 100-1000 K for Z/Z 10-6. No gravitationally bound clumps are found in the Z/Z ≲ 10-5 cases by the end of our simulations, in contrast to the case with Z/Z = 10-4. Large inflow rates of ≥0.1 M yr-1 are observed for Z/Z ≤ 10-5, similar to a zero-metallicity case, while for Z/Z=10-4 the inflow rate starts to decline earlier because of dust cooling and fragmentation. For given large inflow rates, a central star of ∼104 M may form for Z/Z≤10-5.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 20 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • black hole physics
  • cosmology: theory
  • galaxies: formation
  • methods: numerical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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