Binary neutron star mergers are promising sources of gravitational waves for
ground-based detectors such as Advanced LIGO. Neutron-rich material ejected by
these mergers may also be the main source of r-process elements in the
Universe, while radioactive decays in the ejecta can power bright
electromagnetic post-merger signals. Neutrino-matter interactions play a
critical role in the evolution of the composition of the ejected material,
which significantly impacts the outcome of nucleosynthesis and the properties
of the associated electromagnetic signal. In this work, we present a simulation
of a binary neutron star merger using an improved method for estimating the
average neutrino energies in our energy-integrated neutrino transport scheme.
These energy estimates are obtained by evolving the neutrino number density in
addition to the neutrino energy and flux densities. We show that significant
changes are observed in the composition of the polar ejecta when comparing our
new results with earlier simulations in which the neutrino spectrum was assumed
to be the same everywhere in optically thin regions. In particular, we find
that material ejected in the polar regions is less neutron rich than previously
estimated. Our new estimates of the composition of the polar ejecta make it
more likely that the color and timescale of the electromagnetic signal depend
on the orientation of the binary with respect to an observer's line-of-sight.
These results also indicate that important observable properties of neutron
star mergers are sensitive to the neutrino energy spectrum, and may need to be
studied through simulations including a more accurate, energy-dependent
neutrino transport scheme.