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Generalized skyrmion crystals with applications to neutron stars

Paul LeaskMiguel HuidobroAndrzej Wereszczynski
Feb 2024
In this article we study properties of isospin asymmetric nuclear matter in the generalized Skyrme model. This is achieved by canonically quantizing the isospin collective degrees of freedom of the recently found multi-wall skyrmion crystal. We obtain, for the first time, an equation of state from the Skyrme model which interpolates between infinite isospin asymmetric nuclear matter and finite isospin symmetric atomic nuclei. This enables us to describe neutron stars with crusts within the Skyrme framework. Furthermore, we observe that the symmetry energy tends to a constant value at zero density, which can be identified with the asymmetry coefficient in the semi-empirical mass formula for atomic nuclei. The symmetry energy also reveals a cusp in its structure below the nuclear saturation point $n_0$ at $n_*\sim 3n_0/4$. This cusp density point $n_*$ can be interpreted as the nuclear density whereby the infinite crystalline multi-wall configuration undergoes a phase transition to a finite isolated multi-wall configuration. Both of these observations are observed to be generic features of skyrmion crystals that tend asymptotically to somewhat isolated skyrmion configurations in the zero density limit. We find that the resulting neutron stars from our study agree quite well with recent NICER/LIGO observational data.
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