What is it about?

Supernova explosions create neutron stars. Neutron stars are not made of atoms, they are objects composed of neutrons , protons and electrons at very high density (nuclear density). Neutron stars are small, of 10 km of radius, and have a 1 km crust which may have a very interesting structure. Nuclear pastas are the structures formed by protons and neutrons in the crusts of neutron stars. They are called pastas because they resemble Italian delicacies, such as lasagna, spaghetti, gnocchi, etc. Here we study the properties of the pastas, such as binding energy, saturation density, symmetry energy, phase changes, and -of course- the structures formed. This review summarizes about a decade of studies by a collaboration between Professor Lopez and his students from the University of Texas at El Paso and Professor Dorso and his group at the Universidad de Buenos Aires.

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Why is it important?

Nuclear pastas are expected to exist in the crust of neutron stars. Knowing the structure of the crust of neutron stars is important to understand cooling mechanisms of such objects. Cooling by neutrino emission will depend on the transparency of the crust, that is, of the pastas formed.

Perspectives

The properties we study are somewhat independent of the method used to study them, classical molecular dynamics (CMD). Some of these properties have been studied before by other authors with other methods. A deficiency of CMD is the lack of quantum effects, we expect to improve on this in the future.

Dr. Jorge Alberto Lopez
University of Texas at El Paso

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This page is a summary of: Properties of nuclear pastas, Frontiers of Physics, November 2020, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1007/s11467-020-1004-2.
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