The effects of dark matter on neutron stars and on their merger dynamics
PT-CERN Call 2021/1
Universidade de Coimbra
CFISUC - Centro de Fisica da Universidade de Coimbra
The merger of two neutron stars (NSs) is one of the most violent events in the Universe and the extreme conditions inside these stars, with densities of about one hundred million tons per cubic centimeter, cannot be tested on Earth. Hence, NSs, in particular the merger of two NSs, provide a perfect laboratory to study matter at its extreme limit. The recent detection of gravitational waves (GWs) consistent with the merger of two NSs, which was 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 data to the source properties, one requires accurate theoretical models of the last stages of the binary coalescence. Due to the complexity of the equations governing general relativity and relativistic fluids, this can only be done with advanced numerical relativity simulations. While these simulations have undergone significant improvements in the past, the impact of dark matter (DM) on the binary neutron star (BNS) dynamics has not yet been investigated in detail, despite first studies indicating 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.