Signatures of hypermassive neutron star lifetimes on r-process nucleosynthesis in the disc ejecta from neutron star mergers

Academic Article


  • We investigate the nucleosynthesis of heavy elements in the winds ejected by accretion disks formed in neutron star mergers. We compute the element formation in disk outflows from hypermassive neutron star (HMNS) remnants of variable lifetime, including the effect of angular momentum transport in the disk evolution. We employ long-term axisymmetric hydrodynamic disk simulations to model the ejecta, and compute r-process nucleosynthesis with tracer particles using a nuclear reaction network containing $\sim 8000$ species. We find that the previously known strong correlation between HMNS lifetime, ejected mass, and average electron fraction in the outflow is directly related to the amount of neutrino irradiation on the disk, which dominates mass ejection at early times in the form of a neutrino-driven wind. Production of lanthanides and actinides saturates at short HMNS lifetimes ($\lesssim 10$ ms), with additional ejecta contributing to a blue optical kilonova component for longer-lived HMNSs. We find good agreement between the abundances from the disk outflow alone and the solar r-process distribution only for short HMNS lifetimes ($\lesssim 10$ ms). For longer lifetimes, the rare-earth and third r-process peaks are significantly under-produced compared to the solar pattern, requiring additional contributions from the dynamical ejecta. The nucleosynthesis signature from a spinning black hole (BH) can only overlap with that from a HMNS of moderate lifetime ($\lesssim 60$ ms). Finally, we show that angular momentum transport not only contributes with a late-time outflow component, but that it also enhances the neutrino-driven component by moving material to shallower regions of the gravitational potential, in addition to providing additional heating.
  • Authors

  • Lippuner, Jonas
  • Fernandez, Rodrigo
  • Roberts, Luke F
  • Foucart, Francois
  • Kasen, Daniel
  • Metzger, Brian D
  • Ott, Christian D
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • November 2017
  • Has Subject Area


  • accretion, accretion discs
  • dense matter
  • gravitational waves
  • hydrodynamics
  • neutrinos
  • nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 904
  • End Page

  • 918
  • Volume

  • 472
  • Issue

  • 1