Numerical computation of second-order vacuum perturbations of Kerr black holes

Justin L. Ripley, Nicholas Loutrel, Elena Giorgi, Frans Pretorius

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23 Scopus citations


Motivated by the desire to understand the leading-order nonlinear gravitational wave interactions around arbitrarily rapidly rotating Kerr black holes, we describe a numerical code designed to compute second-order vacuum perturbations on such spacetimes. A general discussion of the formalism we use is presented in [N. Loutrel et al., Phys. Rev. D 103, 104017 (2021)PRVDAQ2470-001010.1103/PhysRevD.103.104017]; here we show how we numerically implement that formalism with a particular choice of coordinates and tetrad conditions and give example results for black holes with dimensionless spin parameters a=0.7 and a=0.998. We first solve the Teukolsky equation for the linearly perturbed Weyl scalar ψ4(1), followed by direct reconstruction of the spacetime metric from ψ4(1), and then solve for the dynamics of the second-order perturbed Weyl scalar ψ4(2). This code is a first step toward a more general purpose second-order code, and we outline how our basic approach could be further developed to address current questions of interest, including extending the analysis of ringdown in black hole mergers to before the linear regime, exploring gravitational wave "turbulence"around near-extremal Kerr black holes, and studying the physics of extreme mass ratio inspiral.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104018
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 18 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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