Research in Engineering and Aviation

Oscillations of General Relativistic Superfluid Neutron Stars

November 2002

Author(s): N. Andersson, G. L. Comer, and D. Langlois

Journal: Physical Review D, v. 66, n. 10, 104002. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.66.104002


We develop a general formalism to treat, in general relativity, the nonradial oscillations of a superfluid neutron star about static (non-rotating) configurations. The matter content of these stars can, as a first approximation, be described by a two-fluid model: one fluid is the neutron superfluid, which is believed to exist in the core and inner crust of mature neutron stars; the other fluid is a conglomerate of all charged constituents (crust nuclei, protons, electrons, etc.). We use a system of equations that governs the perturbations both of the metric and of the matter variables, whatever the equation of state for the two fluids. The entrainment effect is explicitly included. We also take the first step towards allowing for the superfluid to be confined to a part of the star by allowing for an outer envelope composed of ordinary fluid. We derive and implement the junction conditions for the metric and matter variables at the core-envelope interface, and briefly discuss the nature of the involved phase transition. We then determine the frequencies and gravitational-wave damping times for a simple model equation of state, incorporating entrainment through an approximation scheme which extends present Newtonian results to the general relativistic regime. We investigate how the quasinormal modes of a superfluid star are affected by changes in the entrainment parameter, and unveil a series of avoided crossings between the various modes. We provide a proof that, unless the equation of state is very special, all modes of a two-fluid star must radiate gravitationally. We also discuss the future detectability of pulsations in a superfluid star and argue that it may be possible (given advances in the relevant technology) to use gravitational-wave data to constrain the parameters of superfluid neutron stars.

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