Einstein’s theory of general relativity is both complex and beautiful; even after 100 years, there is still much it can reveal to us about the nature of gravity. It may also help us answer other fundamental questions, such the nature of the dark matter component of the universe. So far, this component is only known to interact gravitationally with other matter, and so its behaviour in strong gravity regimes may be the only way to probe key properties, such as its mass.
This project used numerical simulations of fields in gravitational backgrounds, to explore the behaviour of light dark matter particles around black holes. We demonstrated how accretion of light dark matter onto a black hole leaves a distinctive pattern in the density (above left) and began to study how its behaviour around spinning black holes might probe its self interactions (below right). Future work will extend these studies to the binary case, where such dark matter imprints may be observable by future detectors.