Thermodynamics conditions of matter in neutron star mergers

Albino Perego, Sebastiano Bernuzzi, David Radice

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98 Scopus citations


Matter in neutron star collisions reaches densities up to few times the nuclear saturation threshold, ρ and temperatures up to one hundred MeV. Understanding the structure and composition of such matter requires many-body non-perturbative calculations that are currently highly uncertain. Unique constraints on the neutron star matter are provided by gravitational-wave observations aided by numerical relativity simulations. In this work, we explore the thermodynamical conditions of matter along the merger dynamics. We consider 3 microphysical equations of state and numerical relativity simulations including approximate neutrino transport. The neutron star cores collision and their multiple bounces heat the initially cold matter to several tens of MeV. Streams of hot matter with initial densities ∼ 1 - 2 ρ move outwards and cool due to decompression and neutrino emission. The merger can result in a neutron star remnant with densities up to 3 - 5 ρ and temperatures ∼ 50 MeV. The highest temperatures are confined in an approximately spherical annulus at densities ∼ ρ. Such temperatures favour positron-neutron capture thus leading to a neutrino emission dominated by electron antineutrinos. We study the impact of trapped neutrinos on the remnant matter’s pressure, electron fraction and temperature and find that it has a negligible effect. Disks around neutron star or black hole remnant are neutron rich and not isentropic, but they differ in size, entropy and lepton fraction depending on the nature of the central object. In the presence of a black hole, disks are smaller and mostly transparent to neutrinos; in presence of a massive neutron star, they are more massive, geometrically and optically thick.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number124
JournalEuropean Physical Journal A
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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