Dr. Francisco Duque

Astrophysikalische und Kosmologische Relativitätstheorie
Standort Potsdam
+49 331 567-7244


My research has mostly focused on the effects that non-vacuum astrophysical environments – such has accretion disks, dark matter distributions or third-body companions – have in the evolution of binaries present in galactic centres. These systems are one of the main scientific targets of the upcoming space-based LISA mission, and if the effects of the environment are not accurately modelled, they can compromise tests of General Relativity. On the other hand, if strong enough they may allow to infer the properties of astrophysical environments using future gravitational-wave observations.

In addition, I am interested in general problems on black-hole perturbation theory. An example is the connection between the late stage of a binary coalescence — the so-called "ringdown" — and the light-ring, where massless particles like photons can be trapped in unstable circular orbits. This has direct applications to the Black-Hole Spectroscopy program, which aims to accurately extract the characteristic frequencies present in the ringdown signal and compare them with the prediction from General Relativity.

Here are links to my publications: from INSPIRE, and from the ADS database.


I come from Caparica, Portugal and did my Bachelor’s in Engineering Physics at Instituto Superior Tecnico of University of Lisbon. In 2019/2020, I spent one year at University of Cambridge doing a Master’s course in Theoretical Physics (Part III) before returning to Lisbon to do my Ph.D. on Environmental Effects in Gravitational-Wave Astronomy at CENTRA, Instituto Superior Tecnico, being supervised by Professor Vitor Cardoso. I graduated in August 2023 and in the following September I joined the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam as a postdoc.

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