Neutrino plasma coupling in dense astrophysical plasmas

Bingham, R and Silva, L O and Mendonça, J T and Shukla, P K and Mori, W B and Serbeto, A (2004) Neutrino plasma coupling in dense astrophysical plasmas. Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 46 (12B). B327-B334. ISSN 0741-3335

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Abstract

There is considerable interest in the propagation dynamics of intense neutrino beams in a background dispersive medium such as dense plasmas, particularly in the search for a mechanism to explain the dynamics of type II supernovae. Neutrino interactions with matter are usually considered as single particle interactions. All the single particle mechanisms describing the dynamical properties of neutrinos in matter are analogous with the processes involving single electron interactions with a medium such as Compton scattering, Cerenkov radiation, etc. However, it is well known that beams of electrons moving through a plasma give rise to a new class of processes known as collective interactions, such as two stream instabilities, which result in either the absorption or generation of plasma waves. Employing the relativistic kinetic equations for neutrinos interacting with dense plasmas via the weak force, we explore collective plasma streaming instabilities driven by neutrino beams. We examine the anomalous transfer between neutrinos and dense plasma via excitation of electron plasma waves. The nonlinear coupling between an intense neutrino beam and a plasma reveals the presence of two regimes, a hydrodynamic regime and a kinetic regime. The latter is responsible for Landau damping or growth of electron plasma waves. In dense fusion stellar plasmas neutrino Landau damping can play a significant role as an additional stellar plasma cooling process. Another interesting result is an asymmetry in the momentum balance imported by the neutrinos to the core of the exploding star due to symmetry breaking by the collapsed star's magnetic fields. This results in a directed velocity of the resulting neutron star or pulsar, explaining the so called 'birth' velocity.