Collapse of magnetized hypermassive neutron stars in general relativity: Disk evolution and outflows

Branson C. Stephens, Stuart L. Shapiro, Yuk Tung Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the evolution in axisymmetry of accretion disks formed self-consistently through collapse of magnetized hypermassive neutron stars to black holes. Such stars can arise following the merger of binary neutron stars. They are differentially rotating, dynamically stable, and have rest masses exceeding the mass limit for uniform rotation. However, hypermassive neutron stars are secularly unstable to collapse due to MHD-driven angular momentum transport. The rotating black hole which forms in this process is surrounded by a hot, massive, magnetized torus and a magnetic field collimated along the spin axis. This system is a candidate for the central engine of a short-hard gamma-ray burst (GRB). Our code integrates the coupled Einstein-Maxwell-MHD equations and is used to follow the collapse of magnetized hypermassive neutron star models in full general relativity until the spacetime settles down to a quasistationary state. We then employ the Cowling approximation, in which the spacetime is frozen, to track the subsequent evolution of the disk. This approximation allows us to greatly extend the disk evolutions and study the resulting outflows, which may be relevant to the generation of a GRB. We find that outflows are suppressed when a stiff equation of state is assumed for low-density disk material and are sensitive to the initial magnetic field configuration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number044001
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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