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Physical Review C 75 (2007) 055806
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Validity of the Wigner-Seitz approximation in neutron star crust
N. Chamel1, S. Naimi2, E. Khan2, J. Margueron2

The inner crust of neutron stars formed of nuclear clusters immersed in a neutron sea has been widely studied in the framework of the Wigner-Seitz approximation since the seminal work of Negele and Vautherin. In this article, the validity of this approximation is discussed in the framework of the band theory of solids. For a typical cell of $^{200}$Zr, present in the external layers of the inner crust, it is shown that the ground state properties of the neutron gas are rather well reproduced by the Wigner-Seitz approximation, while its dynamical properties depend on the energy scale of the process of interest or on the temperature. It is concluded that the Wigner-Seitz approximation is well suited for describing the inner crust of young neutron stars and the collapsing core of massive stars during supernovae explosions. However the band theory is required for low temperature fluid dynamics.
1 :  IAA - Institut d'astronomie et d'astrophysique
2 :  IPNO - Institut de Physique Nucléaire d'Orsay
Physique/Astrophysique/Cosmologie et astrophysique extra-galactique

Physique/Physique Nucléaire Théorique

Planète et Univers/Astrophysique
neutron star crust – band theory – Wigner-Seitz approximation
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