Population III X-ray Binaries and Their Impact on the Early Universe


The first population of X-ray binaries (XRBs) is expected to affect the thermal and ionization states of the gas in the early Universe. Although these X-ray sources are predicted to have important implications for high-redshift observable signals, such as the hydrogen 21-cm signal from cosmic dawn and the cosmic X-ray background, their properties are poorly explored, leaving theoretical models largely uninformed. In this paper we model a population of X-ray binaries arising from zero metallicity stars. We explore how their properties depend on the adopted initial mass function (IMF) of primordial stars, finding a strong effect on their number and X-ray production efficiency. We also present scaling relations between XRBs and their X-ray emission with the local star formation rate, which can be used in sub-grid models in numerical simulations to improve the X-ray feedback prescriptions. Specifically, we find that the uniformity and strength of the X-ray feedback in the intergalactic medium is strongly dependant on the IMF. Bottom-heavy IMFs result in a smoother distribution of XRBs, but have a luminosity orders of magnitude lower than more top-heavy IMFs. Top-heavy IMFs lead to more spatially uneven, albeit strong, X-ray emission. An intermediate IMF has a strong X-ray feedback while sustaining an even emission across the intergalactic medium. These differences in X-ray feedback could be probed in the future with measurements of the cosmic dawn 21-cm line of neutral hydrogen, which offers us a new way of constraining population III IMF.

published in MNRAS
David Hendriks
David Hendriks
Research Fellow Astrophysics

My research is on stellar astrophysics and the formation of compact objects, but I’m interested in many science related topics!