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Journal Article

Constraints on Strong Phase Transitions in Neutron Stars


Hebeler,  K.       
Division Prof. Dr. Klaus Blaum, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;


Schwenk,  A.       
Division Prof. Dr. Klaus Blaum, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Gorda, T., Hebeler, K., Kurkela, A., Schwenk, A., & Vuorinen, A. (2023). Constraints on Strong Phase Transitions in Neutron Stars. The Astrophysical Journal, 955(2): 100. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aceefb.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000D-CD24-4
We study current bounds on strong first-order phase transitions (PTs) along the equation of state (EOS) of dense strongly interacting matter in neutron stars, under the simplifying assumption that on either side of the PT, the EOS can be approximated by a simple polytropic form. We construct a large ensemble of possible EOSs of this form, anchor them to chiral effective field theory calculations at nuclear density and perturbative Quantum Chromodynamics at high densities, and subject them to astrophysical constraints from high-mass pulsars and gravitational-wave observations. Within this setup, we find that a PT permits neutron-star solutions with larger radii, but only if the transition begins below twice nuclear saturation density. We also identify a large parameter space of allowed PTs currently unexplored by numerical-relativity studies. Additionally, we locate a small region of parameter space allowing twin-star solutions, though we find them to only marginally pass the current astrophysical constraints. Finally, we find that sizeable cores of high-density matter beyond the PT may be located in the centers of some stable neutron stars, primarily those with larger masses.