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Journal Article

Implementation of Monte-Carlo transport in the general relativistic SpEC code


Pfeiffer,  Harald P.
Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Foucart, F., Duez, M. D., Hebert, F., Kidder, L. E., Pfeiffer, H. P., & Scheel, M. A. (2021). Implementation of Monte-Carlo transport in the general relativistic SpEC code. The Astrophysical Journal, 920(2): 82. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ac1737.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-4EE2-2
Neutrino transport and neutrino-matter interactions are known to play an
important role in the evolution of neutron star mergers, and of their
post-merger remnants. Neutrinos cool remnants, drive post-merger winds, and
deposit energy in the low-density polar regions where relativistic jets may
eventually form. Neutrinos also modify the composition of the ejected material,
impacting the outcome of nucleosynthesis in merger outflows and the properties
of the optical/infrared transients that they power (kilonovae). So far, merger
simulations have largely relied on approximate treatments of the neutrinos
(leakage, moments) that simplify the equations of radiation transport in a way
that makes simulations more affordable, but also introduces unquantifiable
errors in the results. To improve on these methods, we recently published a
first simulation of neutron star mergers using a low-cost Monte-Carlo algorithm
for neutrino radiation transport. Our transport code limits costs in optically
thick regions by placing a hard ceiling on the value of the absorption opacity
of the fluid, yet all approximations made within the code are designed to
vanish in the limit of infinite numerical resolution. We provide here an
in-depth description of this algorithm, of its implementation in the SpEC
merger code, and of the expected impact of our approximations in optically
thick regions. We argue that the latter is a subdominant source of error at the
accuracy reached by current simulations, and for the interactions currently
included in our code. We also provide tests of the most important features of
this code.