General relativistic simulations of black-hole-neutron-star mergers: Effects of magnetic fields

Zachariah B. Etienne, Yuk Tung Liu, Vasileios Paschalidis, Stuart L. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As a neutron star (NS) is tidally disrupted by a black hole (BH) companion at the end of a black-hole-neutron-star (BHNS) binary inspiral, its magnetic fields will be stretched and amplified. If sufficiently strong, these magnetic fields may impact the gravitational waveforms, merger evolution and mass of the remnant disk. Formation of highly-collimated magnetic field lines in the disk+spinning BH remnant may launch relativistic jets, providing the engine for a short-hard GRB. We analyze this scenario through fully general relativistic, magnetohydrodynamic BHNS simulations from inspiral through merger and disk formation. Different initial magnetic field configurations and strengths are chosen for the NS interior for both nonspinning and moderately spinning (a BH/M BH=0.75) BHs aligned with the orbital angular momentum. Only strong interior (B max∼1017G) initial magnetic fields in the NS significantly influence merger dynamics, enhancing the remnant disk mass by 100% and 40% in the nonspinning and spinning BH cases, respectively. However, detecting the imprint of even a strong magnetic field may be challenging for Advanced LIGO. Though there is no evidence of mass outflows or magnetic field collimation during the preliminary simulations we have performed, higher resolution, coupled with longer disk evolutions and different initial magnetic field configurations, may be required to definitively assess the possibility of BHNS binaries as short-hard gamma-ray burst progenitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number064029
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 21 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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