Fast neutrino cooling of nuclear pasta in neutron stars: Molecular dynamics simulations

Zidu Lin, Matthew E. Caplan, Charles J. Horowitz, Cecilia Lunardini

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24 Scopus citations


The direct Urca process of rapid neutrino emission can occur in nonuniform nuclear pasta phases that are expected in the inner crusts of neutron stars. Here, the periodic potential for a nucleon in nuclear pasta allows momentum conservation to be satisfied for direct Urca reactions. We improve on earlier work by modeling a rich variety of pasta phases (gnocchi, waffle, lasagna, and anti-spaghetti) with large-scale molecular dynamics simulations. We find that the neutrino luminosity due to direct Urca reactions in nuclear pasta can be 3 to 4 orders of magnitude larger than that from the modified Urca process in the NS core. Thus neutrino radiation from pasta could dominate radiation from the core and this could significantly impact the cooling of neutron stars.

Original languageEnglish
Article number045801
JournalPhysical Review C
Issue number4
StatePublished - 6 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Physical Society.


Z.L. thanks D. G. Yakovlev and S. P. Harris for helpful discussions. Z.L. and C.L. acknowledge funding from the National Science Foundation Grant No. PHY-1613708. Z.L. acknowledges funding from US Department of Energy Grant No. DE-SC0019470. C.J.H. is supported in part by US Department of Energy Grants No. DE-FG02-87ER40365 and No. DE-SC0018083. This research was supported in part by Lilly Endowment, Inc., through its support for the Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute, and in part by the Indiana METACyt Initiative. The Indiana METACyt Initiative at IU was also supported in part by Lilly Endowment, Inc. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CNS-0521433. T.

FundersFunder number
Indiana METACyt Initiative
Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute
Lilly Endowment, Inc.
National Science FoundationPHY-1613708
U.S. Department of EnergyDE-SC0018083, DE-SC0019470, DE-FG02-87ER40365
Lilly EndowmentCNS-0521433


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