Thesis Topic: The origin and evolution of accretion disc winds in black hole and neutron star X-ray binaries

Thesis Supervisor: Maria Diaz Trigo


Accretion onto neutron stars and black holes powers the most luminous phenomena in the Universe. Associated with accretion onto such compact objects is the existence of outflows, in the form of uncollimated winds or highly collimated relativistic jets. Two projects aim to deepen our understanding of these outflows in X-ray binaries, systems composed by a neutron star or a stellar-mass black hole, fed by a relatively normal star.

This project will consist of a systematic study of the characteristics of winds in X-ray binaries. Archival data in X-rays and optical frequencies will be analysed and new observations will be proposed both to space observatories such as XMM-Newton and Chandra and to ground observatories as the VLT. Winds are ubiquitous to all X-ray binaries and carry away a significant mass, which could be even larger than the mass that is being accreted by the black hole or neutron star, thus fundamentally affecting the state of the system and the environment. Modelling of the winds with existent plasma codes such as CLOUDY or XSTAR will allow comparison of wind parameters with accretion states of the black hole or neutron star and will ultimately lead to an estimation of the feedback of such winds to the environment and on its influence for triggering accretion state changes.