March 24, 2017: PhD position available
Modelling Compact Binary Mergers.
The merger of two neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole is an astrophysical
event with many implications:
The physical modelling of such mergers is very challenging since their dynamics is shaped a multitude of physics ingredients:
- Such mergers are --together with binary black holes-- prime candidates to be detected by terrestrial
gravitational wave detectors.
- They likely produce the heaviest elements (such as platinum or gold) in the cosmos.
- The radioactive decay of freshly synthesized, heavy elements causes an electromagnetic transient
("macronova") that accompanies the expected gravitational wave signal and is crucial for
pinpointing and understanding the gravitational wave source.
Some introductory explanation of macronovae can be found under this link.
- Such mergers are likely the 'engine' behind short gamma-ray bursts.
The suggested topic of the PhD project will be to explore
with hydrodynamic simulations how
different ejecta components mix and explore what
this means for the electromagnetic signal that
accompanies the gravitational wave signal from
a neutron star merger.
- General Relativity: neutron stars and black holes have sizes comparable to their Schwarzschild radii, therefore strong-field gravity is important.
- Apart from gravity, the structure of a neutron star is shaped by the nuclear matter equation of state.
- The merger releases ~10^53 erg of gravitational energy which is released to a large extent in neutrinos.
- Despite their tiny interaction cross-sections, neutrinos can drive a strong baryonic wind from the remnant
of a compact binary merger. Such winds can also produce heavy elements and cause electromagnetic emission.
Closing date for the application is May 02, 2017.
Further details can be found under this link.