Journal Article

Radiative efficiency of hot accretion flows

Fu-Guo Xie and Feng Yuan

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 427, issue 2, pages 1580-1586
Published in print December 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online December 2012 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Radiative efficiency of hot accretion flows

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Over the past few years, our understanding of hot accretion flows has been improved significantly by two findings: (i) only a small fraction of the accretion flow available at the outer boundary can finally fall on to the black hole, while most of it is lost in the outflow; (ii) electrons can directly receive a large fraction of the viscously dissipated energy in the accretion flow (i.e. δ ∼ 0.1–0.5). The radiative efficiency of the hot accretion flow when these two findings are taken into account has not yet been systematically studied, and this is the subject of our paper. We consider two regimes of the hot accretion model: advection-dominated accretion flows that lie in the regime of the low accretion rate, , and the luminous hot accretion flows (LHAFs) that lie above this accretion rate. For the LHAFs, we assume that the accretion flow has a two-phase structure above a certain accretion rate, and we adopt a simplification in our calculation of the dynamics. Our results indicate that the radiative efficiency of hot accretion flow increases with the accretion rate and that it is greatly enhanced by the direct viscous heating to electrons, compared to the previous case of δ ≪ 1. When the accretion rate is high, the radiative efficiency of the hot accretion flow is comparable to that of a standard thin disc. We present fitting formulae of radiative efficiency as a function of accretion rate for various values of δ.

Keywords: accretion, accretion discs; black hole physics; X-rays: binaries

Journal Article.  5689 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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