Effect of Coulomb screening length on nuclear "pasta" simulations

PN Alcain and PAG Molinelli and JI Nichols and CO Dorso, PHYSICAL REVIEW C, 89, 055801 (2014).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevC.89.055801

We study the role of the effective Coulomb interaction strength and length on the dynamics of nucleons in conditions according to those in a neutron star's crust. Calculations were made with a semiclassical molecular dynamics model, studying isospin symmetric matter at subsaturation densities and low temperatures. The electrostatic interaction between protons is included as a screened Coulomb potential in the spirit of the Thomas-Fermi approximation, but the screening length is artificially varied to explore its effect on the formation of the nonhomogeneous nuclear structures known as "nuclear pasta." As the screening length increases, we can see a transition from a one-per-cell pasta regime (due exclusively to finite-size effects) to a more appealing multiple pasta per simulation box. This qualitative difference in the structure of neutron star matter at low temperatures shows that special caution should be taken when the screening length is estimated for numerical

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