The effects of dark matter on neutron stars and on their merger dynamics


  • Call:

    PT-CERN Call 2020/2

  • Academic Year:


  • Domain:

    Astroparticle Physics

  • Supervisor:

    Constança Providência

  • Co-Supervisor:

    Violetta Sagun

  • Institution:

    Universidade de Coimbra

  • Host Institution:

    CFISUC - Centro de Fisica da Universidade de Coimbra

  • Abstract:

    The merger of two neutron stars (NSs) is one of the most violent events in the Universe and theextreme conditions inside these stars, with densities of about one hundred million tons per cubiccentimeter, cannot be tested on Earth. Hence, NSs, in particular the merger of two NSs, providea perfect laboratory to study matter at its extreme limit.The recent detection of gravitational waves (GWs) consistent with the merger of two NSs, whichwas accompanied by the observation of electromagnetic signals originating from the same source,marks a breakthrough in the field of multi-messenger astronomy. To relate the observational datato the source properties, one requires accurate theoretical models of the last stages of the binarycoalescence. Due to the complexity of the equations governing general relativity and relativisticfluids, this can only be done with advanced numerical relativity simulations. While these simula-tions have undergone significant improvements in the past, the impact of dark matter (DM) on thebinary neutron star (BNS) dynamics has not yet been investigated in detail, despite first studiesindicating that DM can cluster around and inside compact objects such as NSs. This research project will investigate these imprints and will provide the first models to fill some of the existing gaps in our search for DM.