Theodoros Soultanis (Greece)
theodoros.soultanis @ h-its.org
Simulations of neutron star mergers
Neutron star mergers (NSM) are extraordinary events. For instance, they are strong emitters of gravitational waves (GWs). The GW signal in the premerger and the postmerger phase yields information about the, so far, incompletely known equation of state (EOS) of neutron star matter, and therefore provides the means to decipher or further constraint on fundamental properties of high-density matter. NSMs emit different kinds of electromagnetic signals. GW170817 was the very first unambiguous observation of a merger of a neutron star binary. It provided further strong evidence that NSM are the progenitors of short gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). In addition, the neutron-rich ejecta of NSMs likely produce heavy nuclei through the rapid neutron-capture process (r-process) contributing to the galactic enrichment with heavy elements. These freshly synthesized nuclei heat the ejecta via radioactive decays and power transient optical signals. Modelling NSMs is a challenging task. While analytic solutions do exist for the early premerger phase, the dynamical merger phase has to be modelled numerically with the aid of supercomputers. In this project we will simulate different NSM
scenarios using state-of-the-art tools for relativistic hydrodynamics. By detailed modelling we intend to extract further information on these phenomena from future observations. This work is supported by the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS), the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg (MPIA), and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS).
Supervisor: Fritz Roepke (HITS)