- Probing the QCD Phase Diagram with Compact Stars (2010)
- In this work we study compact stars, i.e. neutron stars, as cosmic laboratories for the nuclear matter. With a mass of around 1 - 3 solar masses and a radius of around 10km, compact stars are very dense and, besides nucleons, can contain exotic matter such as hyperons or quark matter. The KaoS collaboration studied nuclear matter for densities up to 2-3 times saturation density by analysing kaon multiplicities from Au+Au and C+C collisions. The results show that nuclear matter in the corresponding density region is very compressible, with a compressibility of <200MeV. For such soft nuclear equations of state the maximum masses of neutron stars are ca. 1.8 - 1.9 solar masses, whereas the central densities are higher than 5 times nuclear saturation density and therefore point towards a possible phase transition to quark matter. If quark matter would be present in the interior of neutron stars, so-called hybrid stars, it could be produced already during their birth in supernova explosions. To study this we implement a quark matter phase transition in a hadronic equation of state which is used in supernova simulations. Supernova simulations of low and intermediate mass progenitors and two different bag constants show a collapse of the proto neutron star due to the softening of the equations of state in the quark-hadron mixed phase. The stiffening of the equation of state for pure quark matter halts the collapse and leads to the production of a second shock wave. The second shock wave is energetic enough to lead to an explosion of the star and produces a neutrino burst when passing the neutrinospheres. Furthermore, first studies of the longtime cooling of hybrid stars show, that colour superconductivity can significantly influence the cooling behaviour of hybrid stars, if all quarks form Cooper Pairs. For the so-called CSL phase (colour-spin locking) with pairing energies of several MeV, the cooling of the quark phase is suppressed and the hybrid star appears as a pure hadronic star.
- Astrophysical Implications of the QCD phase transition (2008)
- The possible role of a first order QCD phase transition at nonvanishing quark chemical potential and temperature for cold neutron stars and for supernovae is delineated. For cold neutron stars, we use the NJL model with nonvanishing color superconducting pairing gaps, which describes the phase transition to the 2SC and the CFL quark matter phases at high baryon densities. We demonstrate that these two phase transitions can both be present in the core of neutron stars and that they lead to the appearance of a third family of solution for compact stars. In particular, a core of CFL quark matter can be present in stable compact star configurations when slightly adjusting the vacuum pressure to the onset of the chiral phase transition from the hadronicmodel to the NJL model. We show that a strong first order phase transition can have strong impact on the dynamics of core collapse supernovae. If the QCD phase transition sets in shortly after the first bounce, a second outgoing shock wave can be generated which leads to an explosion. The presence of the QCD phase transition can be read off from the neutrino and antineutrino signal of the supernova.
- Implications for compact stars of a soft nuclear equation of state from heavy-ion data (2012)
- We study the implications on compact star properties of a soft nuclear equation of state determined from kaon production at subthreshold energies in heavy-ion collisions. On one hand, we apply these results to study radii and moments of inertia of light neutron stars. Heavy-ion data provides constraints on nuclear matter at densities relevant for those stars and, in particular, to the density dependence of the symmetry energy of nuclear matter. On the other hand, we derive a limit for the highest allowed neutron star mass of three solar masses. For that purpouse, we use the information on the nucleon potential obtained from the analysis of the heavy-ion data combined with causality on the nuclear equation of state.