Muon Creation in Supernova Matter Facilitates Neutrino-Driven Explosions

R. Bollig, H. T. Janka, A. Lohs, G. Martínez-Pinedo, C. J. Horowitz, T. Melson

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Muons can be created in nascent neutron stars (NSs) due to the high electron chemical potentials and the high temperatures. Because of their relatively lower abundance compared to electrons, their role has so far been ignored in numerical simulations of stellar core collapse and NS formation. However, the appearance of muons softens the NS equation of state, triggers faster NS contraction, and thus leads to higher luminosities and mean energies of the emitted neutrinos. This strengthens the postshock heating by neutrinos and can facilitate explosions by the neutrino-driven mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number242702
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number24
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Physical Society.


We acknowledge hospitality by ECT* in Trento during the MICRA workshop, where discussions helped start this work. At Garching, this work was supported by the European Research Council through grant ERC AdG 341157-COCO2CASA and by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft through grants SFB 1258 (“Neutrinos, Dark Matter, Messengers”) and EXC 153 (“Excellence Cluster Universe”). G. M.-P. acknowledges partial support by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft through grant SFB 1245 (“Nuclei: From Fundamental Interactions to Structure and Stars”). C. J. H. was supported in part by U.S. DOE Grants No. DE-FG02-87ER40365 and No. DE-SC0008808. The numerical simulations were carried out at the Max Planck Computing and Data Facility (MPCDF).

FundersFunder number
U.S. Department of EnergyDE-SC0008808, DE-FG02-87ER40365
Seventh Framework Programme341157
European Research Council
Deutsche ForschungsgemeinschaftSFB 1258, SFB 1245


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