Probing nuclear superfluidity and superconductivity with neutron stars, by Nicolas CHAMEL…
Hosted by GdR RESANET.
Formed in the furnace of gravitational core-collapse supernova explosions, neutron stars contain matter crushed at densities exceeding that found inside the heaviest atomic nuclei. Despite typical temperatures of order ten million degrees, the extremely dense matter in neutron stars is expected to be cold enough for the appearance of superfluids and superconductors – frictionless quantum liquids respectively electrically neutral and charged – made of neutrons and protons, and more speculatively of other particles such as hyperons or even deconfined quarks. If these phase transitions really occur, neutron stars would not only be the largest superfluid and superconducting systems known in the Universe, but also the hottest ones with critical temperatures reaching ten billion degrees. After describing the main properties of terrestrial superfluids and superconductors, our current understanding of analogous phenomena in neutron stars will be reviewed together with their astrophysical manifestations.