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Journal Article

The role of weak interactions in dynamic ejecta from binary neutron star mergers


Kastaun,  W.
Binary Merger Observations and Numerical Relativity, AEI-Hannover, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Martin, D., Perego, A., Kastaun, W., & Arcones, A. (2018). The role of weak interactions in dynamic ejecta from binary neutron star mergers. Classical and quantum gravity, 35: 034001. doi:10.1088/1361-6382/aa9f5a.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-80AC-D
Weak reactions are critical for the neutron richness of the matter dynamically ejected after the merger of two neutron stars. The neutron richness, defined by the electron fraction (Ye), determines which heavy elements are produced by the r-process and thus directly impacts the kilonova light curve. In this work, we have performed a systematic and detailed post-processing study of the impact of weak reactions on the distribution of the electron fraction and of the entropy on the dynamic ejecta obtained from an equal mass neutron star binary merger simulated in full general relativity and with microscopic equation of state. Previous investigations indicated that shocks increase Ye, however our results show that shocks can also decrease Ye, depending on their thermodynamical conditions. Moreover, we have found that neutrino absorption are key and need to be considered in future simulations. We also demonstrated that the angular dependence of the neutrino luminosity and the spatial distribution of the ejecta can lead to significant difference in the electron fraction distribution. In addition to the detailed study of the Ye evolution and its dependences, we have performed nucleosynthesis calculations. They clearly point to the necessity of improving the neutrino treatment in current simulations to be able to predict the contribution of neutron star mergers to the chemical history of the universe and to reliable calculate their kilonova light curves.