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Partially accreted crusts of neutron stars

Abstract : Neutron stars in low-mass binary systems are subject to accretion. The common assumption in studying the properties of the neutron star crust is the fully accreted crust approximation. However, observations of some X-ray transient sources indicate that the original crust has not been completely replaced by accreted material, but is partly composed of the compressed original crust. A two-part (or hybrid) crust made of the original crust that is compressed and of the accreted material crashing onto it was reconstructed as a function of the accretion stage. The differences in the composition and energy sources for the fully accreted and hybrid crusts influence the cooling and transport properties. A simple semi-empirical formula of a compressible liquid drop was used. We compared the nuclear reactions triggered by compression in the original crust and in the accreted matter part of the hybrid crust. We discuss another crust compression astrophysical phenomenon related to spinning neutron stars. The compression of the originally catalyzed outer crust triggers exothermic reactions (electron captures and pycnonuclear fusions) that deposit heat in the crust. The heat sources are cataloged as a function of the compression until the fully accreted crust approximation is reached. The pressure at which neutron drip occurs is a nonmonotonic function of the depth, leading to a temporary neutron drip anomaly. The additional potential source of energy for partially accreted crusts is the occurrence of a density inversion phenomenon between some compressed layers. The original crust of a neutron star cannot be neglected when the original crust is not fully replaced by the accreted matter. The amount of heat associated with the compression of the original crust is on the same order of magnitude as that from the sources acting in the accreted part of the hybrid crust.
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Submitted on : Sunday, June 26, 2022 - 7:59:32 AM
Last modification on : Sunday, June 26, 2022 - 7:59:38 AM

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Lami Suleiman, Julian-Leszek Zdunik, Pawel Haensel, Morgane Fortin. Partially accreted crusts of neutron stars. Astron.Astrophys., 2022, 662, pp.A63. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/202243040⟩. ⟨hal-03632263⟩

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