Cosmological simulations of massive black hole seeds: predictions for next generation electromagnetic and gravitational wave observations
We study how statistical properties of supermassive black holes depend on the frequency and conditions for massive seed formation in cosmological simulations of structure formation. We develop a novel method to re-calculate detailed growth histories and merger trees of black holes within the framework of the Illustris simulation for several seed formation models, including a physically motivated model where black hole seeds only form in progenitor galaxies that conform to the conditions for direct collapse black hole formation. While all seed models considered here are in a broad agreement with present observational constraints on black hole populations from optical, UV and X-ray studies, we find they lead to widely different black hole number densities and halo occupation fractions which are currently observationally unconstrained. In terms of future electromagnetic spectrum observations, the faint-end quasar luminosity function and the low mass-end black hole-host galaxy scaling relations are very sensitive to the specific massive seed prescription. Specifically, the direct collapse model exhibits a seeding efficiency which decreases rapidly with cosmic time and produces much fewer black holes in low mass galaxies, in contrast to the original Illustris simulation. We further find that the total black hole merger rate varies by more than one order of magnitude for different seed models, with the redshift evolution of the chirp mass changing as well. Supermassive black hole merger detections with LISA and International Pulsar Timing Array may hence provide the most direct means of constraining massive black hole seed formation in the early Universe.