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We aim to understand the physics behind the interaction of hot coronal plasma and the relatively cold accretion disk of stellar-mass black holes. Previous work in this field has used X-ray observations to develop two-phase models that study how the corona temperature is affected via energy transport due to its radiative coupling with the disk. However, these studies are limited by their use of two-dimensional observations, predetermined corona configurations, and lack of local magnetic field information.

Therefore, we turn to three-dimensional computer simulations to better understand the physics within these black holes. Two-temperature general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations (2TGRMHD) are intensive computations that can self-consistently use hydrodynamic, gravitation, and electromagnetic equations to generate a black hole that evolves through time.

We plan to simulate how the photons surrounding a black hole would look to an observer on Earth, a process called ray-tracing. This will help us better understand how thermal reprocessing of coronal emission, energy dissipation due to disk turbulence/viscosity, disk ionization, and magnetic reconnection can affect energy conservation in this environment. We will use ray-traced 2TGRMHD simulations to create radial profiles of temperature and emissivity of stellar-mass black holes to derive observational consequences of the energy channeling between the disk and corona. This will allow us to create more realistic emission models for such sources and further inform what energy ranges and detector sensitivities are needed in future X-ray instruments.

For the duration of the grant, the Fellow will have a doctoral advisor (Henric Krawcyznski) at the legal organization (Washington University) and a cross-discipline advisor (Alexander Tchekhovskoy) at the partnering organization (Northwestern University).