Binary and ternary ionic compounds in the outer crust of a cold nonaccreting neutron star

10 Mar 2021  ·  Nicolas Chamel, Anthea Fantina ·

The outer crust of a cold nonaccreting neutron star has been generally assumed to be stratified into different layers, each of which consists of a pure body-centered cubic ionic crystal in a charge compensating background of highly degenerate electrons. The validity of this assumption is examined by analyzing the stability of multinary ionic compounds in dense stellar matter... It is thus shown that their stability against phase separation is uniquely determined by their structure and their composition irrespective of the stellar conditions. However, equilibrium with respect to weak and strong nuclear processes imposes very stringent constraints on the composition of multinary compounds, and thereby on their formation. By examining different cubic and noncubic lattices, it is found that substitutional compounds having the same structure as cesium chloride are the most likely to exist in the outer crust of a nonaccreting neutron star. The presence of ternary compounds is also investigated. Very accurate analytical expressions are obtained for the threshold pressure, as well as for the densities of the different phases irrespective of the degree of relativity of the electron gas. Finally, numerical calculations of the ground-state structure and of the equation of state of the outer crust of a cold nonaccreting neutron star are carried out using recent experimental and microscopic nuclear mass tables. read more

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Nuclear Theory High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena Materials Science