Neutrino transport in general relativistic neutron star merger simulations

Francois Foucart

Submitted on 6 September 2022


Numerical simulations of neutron star-neutron star and neutron star-black hole binaries play an important role in our ability to model gravitational wave and electromagnetic signals powered by these systems. These simulations have to take into account a wide range of physical processes including general relativity, magnetohydrodynamics, and neutrino radiation transport. The latter is particularly important in order to understand the properties of the matter ejected by many mergers, the optical/infrared signals powered by nuclear reactions in the ejecta, and the contribution of that ejecta to astrophysical nucleosynthesis. However, accurate evolutions of the neutrino transport equations that include all relevant physical processes remain beyond our current reach. In this review, I will discuss the current state of neutrino modeling in general relativistic simulations of neutron star mergers and of their post-merger remnants, focusing in particular on the three main types of algorithms used in simulations so far: leakage, moments, and Monte-Carlo scheme. I will discuss the advantages and limitations of each scheme, as well as the various neutrino-matter interactions that should be included in simulations. We will see that the quality of the treatment of neutrinos in merger simulations has greatly increased over the last decade, but also that many potentially important interactions remain difficult to take into account in simulations (pair annihilation, oscillations, inelastic scattering).


Comment: Draft of an invited review to be submitted to Living Reviews in Computational Astrophysics -- comments, suggestions and corrections welcome

Subjects: Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena; General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology