Research in Engineering and Aviation

Are Pulsar Glitches Triggered by a Superfluid TwoStream Instability?

March 2003

Author(s): N. Andersson, G. L. Comer and R. Prix

Journal: Physical Review Letters, v. 90, n. 9, 091101. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.90.091101


Mature neutron stars are expected to have several superfluid components. Strong evidence for this is provided by the glitches that have been observed in dozens of pulsars. We describe a superfluid analog of the two-stream instability that is well known in plasma physics and provide arguments that this instability is likely to be relevant for neutron stars. This is a new physical mechanism which may play a key role in explaining the glitch mechanism and which could also prove to be relevant in laboratory experiments on various superfluid systems.

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