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Journal Article

Magnetorotational instability in relativistic hypermassive neutron stars

MPS-Authors

Siegel,  Daniel M.
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

Ciolfi,  Riccardo
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Harte,  Abraham I.
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Rezzolla,  Luciano
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Fulltext (public)

1302.4368
(Preprint), 3MB

PRD87_121302.pdf
(Any fulltext), 648KB

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Citation

Siegel, D. M., Ciolfi, R., Harte, A. I., & Rezzolla, L. (2013). Magnetorotational instability in relativistic hypermassive neutron stars. Physical Review D, 87: 121302. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.87.121302.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-E990-4
Abstract
A differentially rotating hypermassive neutron star (HMNS) is a metastable object which can be formed in the merger of neutron-star binaries. The eventual collapse of the HMNS into a black hole is a key element in generating the physical conditions expected to accompany the launch of a short gamma-ray burst. We investigate the influence of magnetic fields on HMNSs by performing three-dimensional simulations in general-relativistic magnetohydrodynamics. In particular, we provide direct evidence for the occurrence of the magnetorotational instability (MRI) in HMNS interiors. For the first time in simulations of these systems, rapidly-growing and spatially-periodic structures are observed to form with features like those of the channel flows produced by the MRI in other systems. Moreover, the growth time and wavelength of the fastest-growing mode are extracted and compared successfully with analytical predictions. The MRI emerges as an important mechanism to amplify magnetic fields over the lifetime of the HMNS, whose collapse to a black hole is accelerated. The evidence provided here that the MRI can actually develop in HMNSs could have a profound impact on the outcome of the merger of neutron-star binaries and on its connection to short gamma-ray bursts.