Pulsars, generally accepted to be rotating neutron stars, are dense, neutron-packed remnants of massive stars that blew apart in supernova explosions. They are typically about 10 kilometers across and spin rapidly, often making several hundred rotations per second. Depending on star mass, gravity compresses the matter in the cores of pulsars up to more than ten times the density of ordinary atomic nuclei, thus providing a high-pressure environment in which numerous particle processes, from hyperon population to quark deconfinement to the formation of Boson condensates, may compete with each other. There are theoretical suggestions of even more "exotic" processes inside pulsars, such as the formation of absolutely stable strange quark matter, a configuration of matter even more stable than the most stable atomic nucleus, ^T56Fe. In the latter event, pulsars would be largely composed of pure quark matter, eventually enveloped in nuclear crust matter.
These features combined with the tremendous recent progress in observational radio and x-ray astronomy make pulsars nearly ideal probes for a wide range of physical studies, complementing the quest of the behavior of superdense matter in terrestrial collider experiments. Written by an eminent author, Pulsars as Astrophysical Laboratories for Nuclear and Particle Physics gives a reliable account of the present status of such research, which naturally is to be performed at the interface between nuclear physics, particle physics, and Einstein's theory of relativity.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Overview of relativistic stars. Observed neutron star properties. Physics of neutron star matter. Relativistic field-theoretical description of neutron star matter. Spectral representation of two-point Green function. Dense matter in relativistic Hartree and Hartree-Fock. Quark-hadron phase transition. Ladder approximation in self-consistent baryon-antibaryon basis. Matrix elements of one-boson-exchange potentials. Partial-wave expansions. Dense matter in relativistic ladder approximation. Models for the equation of state. General relativity in a nutshell. Structure equations of non-rotating stars. Criteria for maximum rotation. Models of rotating neutron stars. Strage quark matter stars. Cooling of neutron and strange stars. Notation. Useful mathematical relationships. Hartree-Fock self-energies at zero temperature. Hartee-Fock self-energies at finite temperature. Helicity-state matrix elements of one-boson-exchange potential. Partial-wave expansion. Rotating stars in general relativity. Quark matter at finite temperature. Models of rotating relativistic neutron stars of selected masses. Equations of state in tabulated form. References.
"A remarkable reference work covering an enormous range of material from astrophysics to nuclear and particle physics in an interesting and accessible manner. This is a very important contribution to the literature."
-Anthony W. Thomas, University of Adelaide, Australia