Recently, both stellar mass segregation and binary fractions were uniformly measured on relatively large samples of Galactic globular clusters (GCs). Simulations show that both sizable binary-star populations and intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) quench mass segregation in relaxed GCs. Thus mass segregation in GCs with a reliable binary-fraction measurement is a valuable probe to constrain IMBHs. In this paper we combine mass-segregation and binary-fraction measurements from the literature to build a sample of 33 GCs (with measured core binary fractions), and a sample of 43 GCs (with binary-fraction measurements in the area between the core radius and the half-mass radius). Within both samples we try to identify IMBH-host candidates. These should have relatively low mass segregation, a low binary fraction (<5%), and a short (<1 Gyr) relaxation time. Considering the core-binary-fraction sample, no suitable candidates emerge. If the binary fraction between the core and the half-mass radius is considered, two candidates are found, but this is likely due to statistical fluctuations. We also consider a larger sample of 54 GCs where we obtained an estimate of the core binary fraction using a predictive relation based on metallicity and integrated absolute magnitude. Also in this case no suitable candidates are found. Finally, we consider the GC core- to half-mass radius ratio, which is expected to be larger for GCs containing either an IMBH or binaries. We find that GCs with large core- to half-mass radius ratios are less mass-segregated (and show a larger binary fraction), confirming the theoretical expectation that the energy sources responsible for the large core are also quenching mass segregation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science