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Black hole accretion on all mass scales


This project is centered on a unifying view of stellar and super-massive black holes. A good understanding of accreting black holes is not only important on its own accord, but has many implications from cosmology to star formation. Recently a number of phenomenological and theoretical connections between black hole X-ray binaries (XRBs) and Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) have been found, connecting 'locally' occurring astrophysical phenomena to the most powerful engines in the universes.

These similarities in clude the spectral energy distribution, the radio/X-ray correlation and the power spectral density (PSD) of the X-ray variability. If these connections can be well understood they could be used to derive fundamental parameters like the black hole mass, spin, or accretion power, directly from observations, and to understand the process near black holes in greater detail. The applicant will transfer the 'unified' model for the disc-jet coupling in XRBs, as developed by the host, to the AGN world. The new scaling laws for the emission of accreting black holes, partly developed by the applicant, will be used to scale the properties of the XRB model to AGN. In the theoretical part of this project the applicant will enhance the current models for higher accretion rates and towards higher photon energy. The resulting spectral models will be tested using INTEGRAL data, for which the host institute is a specialist science centre.

The applicant will also develop models for dynamical features like the PSD or quasi-periodic oscillations of XRBs and AGN. The project will train the applicant in theoretical and observational techniques partly complementary to his previous knowledge, allowing him to supplement his mainly theoretical knowledge with a wider variety of observational techniques. This will enable him to independently pursue research in the area of accreting black holes in the future.

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