Simulations of cold nuclear matter at sub-saturation densities

Authors
Giménez Molinelli, Pedro Agustín; Nichols, Juan Ignacio; Lopez, J. A.; Dorso, Claudio Oscar
Publication Year
2014
Language
English
Format
article
Status
Published version
Description
Ideal nuclear matter is expected to undergo a first order phase transition at the thermodynamic limit. At such phase transitions the size of density fluctuations (bubbles or droplets) scale with the size of the system. This means that simulations of nuclear matter at sub-saturation densities will inexorably suffer from what is vaguely referred to as “finite size effects”. It is usually thought that these finite size effects can be diminished by imposing periodic boundary conditions and making the system large enough, but as we show in this work, that is actually not the case at sub-saturation densities. In this paper we analyze the equilibrium configurations of molecular dynamics simulations of a classical model for symmetric ideal (uncharged) nuclear matter at sub-saturation densities and low temperatures, where phase coexistence is expected at the thermodynamic limit. We show that the most stable configurations in this density range are almost completely determined by artificial aspects of the simulations (i.e. boundary conditions) and can be predicted analytically by surface minimization. This result is very general and is shown to hold true for several well known semi-classical models of nuclear interaction and even for a simple Lennard-Jones potential. Also, in the limit of very large systems, when “small size” effects can be neglected, those equilibrium configurations seem to be restricted to a few structures reminiscent to the “Pasta Phases” expected in Neutron Star matter, but arising from a completely different origin: In Neutron Star matter, the non-homogeneous structures arise from a competition between nuclear and Coulomb interactions while for ideal nuclear matter they emerge from finite (yet not “small”) size effects. The role of periodic boundary conditions and finite size effects in Neutron Star matter simulations are reexamined.
Fil: Giménez Molinelli, Pedro Agustín. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Oficina de Coordinación Administrativa Ciudad Universitaria. Instituto de Física de Buenos Aires. Universidad de Buenos Aires. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales. Instituto de Física de Buenos Aires; Argentina
Fil: Nichols, Juan Ignacio. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Oficina de Coordinación Administrativa Ciudad Universitaria. Instituto de Física de Buenos Aires. Universidad de Buenos Aires. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales. Instituto de Física de Buenos Aires; Argentina
Fil: Lopez, J. A.. University of Texas at El Paso; Estados Unidos
Fil: Dorso, Claudio Oscar. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Oficina de Coordinación Administrativa Ciudad Universitaria. Instituto de Física de Buenos Aires. Universidad de Buenos Aires. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales. Instituto de Física de Buenos Aires; Argentina
Subject
Astrofisica Nuclear
Transiciones de fase
Dinamica Molecular
Astronomía
Ciencias Físicas
CIENCIAS NATURALES Y EXACTAS
Access level
Restricted access
License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/ar/
Repository
CONICET Digital (CONICET)
Institution
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas
OAI Identifier
oai:ri.conicet.gov.ar:11336/31911