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Relationship between Ultracold neutrons and neutron stars

  1. Sep 6, 2014 #1
    Hi, PF:

    I'm currently about to graduate from my Ph. D. program in Physics and I want to focus my research in theoretical physics. I feel very excited by topics such as Astrophysics and GR, but also low temperature physics, such as superconductivity, bose-einstein condensation, superfluidity, etc. I came across a problem that could, in fact, make use of all these different disciplines, but I don't know what's the current state of art.

    The problem is hinted in "The Physics of Ultracold Neutrons", by Ignatovich. I've been working with theoretical models that involve UCN in my Ph. D. research. In the first chapter, the author mentions several applications of this new physics. For purposes of UCN storage, Ignatovich is mainly interested in the scattering of neutrons from surfaces; however, he points out at what could be a very interesting problem in which a neutron star could be imagined as a cluster of UCN trapped by its own gravitational field (p.9); he then goes to describe that a system as such could be studied by first imagining it in a oversimplified way as a particle trapped in a very deep quantum well. Due to the immense densities and g-forces, Relativistic Quantum Mechanics (RQM) would have to be used. The scattering properties of the UCN in such a system represent an interesting astrophysical problem (p. 11)

    Is there an astrophysicist, astronomer, or physicist who could tell me if neutron star systems have been modeled in this fashion? Or could he/she/they lead me to literature where I could find out more about the current state of the problem?

    I've started to study RQM by myself and I have spent some time studying the physics of neutron stars, but so far, I haven't found any referral to a study bridging UCN and neutron stars (except for the above comments from Ignatovich).

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 6, 2014 #2


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    I recently attended a talk where the speaker talked about nuclear pasta in neutron star crusts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_pasta I think that was pretty state of the art (the speaker was using supercomputing power to determine the geometry of the various nuclear pasta that obtain under different conditions). I don't know how this relates to ultracold neutrons other than of course the superficial connection that it's also about neutron stars, which are full of ultracold neutrons...

    I don't know, maybe it will help in some way. I just thought I'd mention it.
  4. Sep 17, 2014 #3
    Hmm, I haven't seen anything that uses relativistic QM. Note that neutron star neutrons are typically at millions of degrees K, though some of the older ones might be truly cold. I'd recommend the research of Egor Babaev, but he's more interested in the EM field.
  5. Sep 18, 2014 #4
    Thank you. I bumped into Baebev's work, but it's all in Russian :confused:
  6. Sep 19, 2014 #5


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    I like the idea neutrons are deconstructed into a quark fluid as they approach the core of a neutron star.
  7. Oct 4, 2014 #6
    Egor Babaev has had plenty of papers published in Nature and Physical Review, all in English.
  8. Oct 5, 2014 #7
    Really? I think I was looking for the wrong author. Thanks, I'll look him up.
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