Neutrinos in Mergers of Neutron Stars with Black Holes
Deaton, Michael Brett
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Mergers of a neutron star and a black hole are interesting because of the dual complexity of the black hole's strong gravity and the neutron star's nuclear-density fluid. Mergers can yield short-lived nuclear accretion disks, emitting copious neutrinos. This radiation may change the thermodynamic state of the disk itself, may drive an ultrarelativistic jet of electrons and positrons, may oscillate in its flavor content, may irradiate surrounding matter, playing a role in nucleosynthesis, and may be detected directly.In this thesis I present a model of such a merger, its remnant accretion disk, and its neutrino emission. In particular, we evolve a neutron star--black hole merger through ~100 ms, solving the full general relativistic hydrodynamics equations, from inspiral through merger and accretion epochs. We treat the neutrinos approximately, using a leakage framework, which accounts for local energy losses and composition drift in the fluid due to escaping neutrinos. We use geodesic ray tracing on a late time slice of the model to calculate the full spatial-, angular-, and energy-dependence of the neutrino distribution function around the accretion disk. This distribution then serves in a computation of the energy available to form a jet via neutrino-antineutrino annihilation in the disk funnel. In this scenario, we find that enough energy is deposited to drive a jet of short-gamma-ray-burst-energy by neutrino processes alone.