Two-Moment Neutrino Flavor Transformation with applications to the Fast Flavor Instability in Neutron Star Mergers

Evan Grohs, Sherwood Richers, Sean M. Couch, Francois Foucart, Julien Froustey, Jim Kneller, Gail McLaughlin.


Multi-messenger astrophysics has produced a wealth of data with much more to come in the future. This enormous data set will reveal new insights into the physics of core collapse supernovae, neutron star mergers, and many other objects where it is actually possible, if not probable, that new physics is in operation. To tease out different possibilities, we will need to analyze signals from photons, neutrinos, gravitational waves, and chemical elements. This task is made all the more difficult when it is necessary to evolve the neutrino component of the radiation field and associated quantum-mechanical property of flavor in order to model the astrophysical system of interest — a numerical challenge that has not been addressed to this day. In this work, we take a step in this direction by adopting the technique of angular-integrated moments with a truncated tower of dynamical equations and a closure, convolving the flavor-transformation with spatial transport to evolve the neutrino radiation quantum field. We show that moments capture the dynamical features of fast flavor instabilities in a variety of systems, although our technique is by no means a universal blueprint for solving fast flavor transformation. To evaluate the effectiveness of our moment results, we compare to a more precise particle-in-cell method. Based on our results, we propose areas for improvement and application to complementary techniques in the future.