Isolated horizons and distorted black holes

Open Access
Fairhurst, Stephen
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
June 25, 2001
Committee Members:
  • Pablo Laguna, Committee Member
  • Murat Gunaydin, Committee Member
  • Jorge Pullin, Committee Member
  • Abhay Vasant Ashtekar, Committee Chair
  • theoretical physics
  • general relativity
  • black holes
A set of boundary conditions defining an isolated horizon are specified. A space-time representing a black hole which itself is in equilibrium but whose exterior contains radiation admits such a horizon. A local definition of surface gravity is given and the zeroth law is extended to isolated horizons. The action principle and Hamiltonian framework for space-times containing isolated horizons are introduced. Interestingly, in the non-rotating case, the first law is shown to arise as a necessary and sufficient condition for the existence of a consistent Hamiltonian evolution. Furthermore, by appealing to static solutions, in Einstein--Maxwell a physically motivated definition of isolated horizon mass is given. Although this notion of black hole mass does not extend to Einstein--Yang--Mills theory, the isolated horizon framework does lead to new predictions even for static black holes. Finally, a new class of solutions to the Einstein--Maxwell equations, which represent a class of charged distorted black holes, is presented. Physically, they represent charged black holes distorted by external matter fields. Isolated horizons provides a natural framework in which to discuss the first law for these black holes.