Superradiant instability of massive vector fields around spinning black holes in the relativistic regime
AbstractWe study the superradiant instability of massive vector fields, i.e. Proca fields, around spinning black holes in the test field limit. This is motivated by the possibility that observations of astrophysical black holes can probe the existence of ultralight bosons subject to this mechanism. By making use of time-domain simulations, we characterize the growth rate, frequency, spatial distribution, and other properties of the unstable modes, including in the regime where the black hole is rapidly spinning and the Compton wavelength of the Proca field is comparable to the black hole radius. We find that relativistic effects in this regime increase the range of Proca masses that are unstable, as well as the maximum instability rate. We also study the gravitational waves that can be sourced by such an instability, finding that they can be significantly stronger than in the massive scalar field case.