Space scientists have discovered a new method of detecting the internal structure of neutron stars, thereby providing clues about the composition of atomic-level matter.
Space scientists at the University of Bath in the UK have discovered a new method for detecting the internal structure of neutron stars, thus providing nuclear physicists with a novel tool to study the structure of matter at the atomic level.
Neutron stars are death stars, they are compressed by gravity to the size of small cities.They contain the most extreme matter in the universe, which means they are the densest objects in existence (for comparison, if the earth is compressed to Neutron Star, Its diameter is only a few hundred meters, and everyone can put it in a teaspoon. This makes neutron stars a unique natural laboratory for nuclear physicists, whose understanding of the forces that bind subatomic particles is limited to their work on atomic nuclei connected to the earth. Studying how this force behaves under more extreme conditions can deepen their knowledge.
Stepping into the ranks of astrophysicists, they set their sights on distant galaxies to unlock the mysteries of physics.
In a study Monthly Bulletin of the Royal Astronomical SocietyBass astrophysicists discovered that when two neutron stars rotate toward a violent collision, their moving speeds become faster and faster, which provides clues to the composition of neutron stars. Based on this information, nuclear physicists will be in a better position to calculate the forces that determine the structure of all matter.
The Bath team discovered it through resonance. When a force is applied to an object at a natural frequency, resonance occurs, resulting in large, usually catastrophic, vibrational motion. When an opera singer breaks glass by singing loudly at a frequency that matches the vibration pattern of the glass, a famous example of resonance is found.
When a pair of inhaling neutron stars reaches a resonance state, their solid shells (believed to be 10 billion times stronger than steel) rupture. This results in a burst of bright gamma rays that can be seen by satellites (called resonance fragmentation).Inspiring stars are also released Gravitational waves Can be detected by instruments on the earth. The Bass researchers found that by measuring flares and gravitational wave signals, they can calculate the “symmetry energy” of a neutron star.
Symmetrical energy is one of the characteristics of nuclear matter. It controls the ratio of subatomic particles (protons and neutrons) that make up the nucleus and how that ratio changes when subjected to the extreme densities found in neutron stars. Therefore, the reading of the symmetry energy will strongly indicate the composition of the neutron star, and thus broadly show the coupling process of all protons and neutrons and the forces that determine the structure of all matter.
The researchers emphasize that the measurement results obtained by using a combination of gamma rays and gravitational waves to study the resonance of neutron stars will complement, not replace, nuclear physicists’ laboratory experiments.
Dr. David Tsang, a Bass astrophysicist, said: “By studying neutron stars and the catastrophic final motion of these massive objects, we can understand certain things that make up the tiny nuclei of extremely dense matter.” People are fascinated.”
Duncan Neal, a PhD student in astrophysics who led the research, added: “I like that this work is the same as what nuclear physicists are studying. They look at tiny particles, and our astrophysicists look at it. Objects and events millions of light-years away. We are looking at the same thing in a completely different way.”
Astrophysicist Dr. Will Newton, a commercial and project collaborator at Texas A&M University, said: “Although we know the force that binds quarks to neutrons and protons, when a large number of neutrons and protons gather together, its actual The role is not clear… Experimental nuclear physics data helps to find a better understanding, but all the nuclei we probe on Earth have similar numbers of neutrons and protons, which are held together at roughly the same density.
“In neutron stars, nature provides us with a completely different environment for exploring nuclear physics: matter mainly composed of neutrons has a wide range of densities, and the density is ten times that of atomic nuclei. In this article, we show how Measure a certain characteristic of the substance-symmetric energy from a distance of hundreds of millions of light years. This can clarify the basic working principle of the nucleus.
Reference: “Duncan Neal, William G. Newton, and Tsang Yinquan “Resonant Broken Flare as a Multi-Messenger Probe of Nuclear Symmetric Energy” published on March 26, 2021, Monthly Bulletin of the Royal Astronomical Society.