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Hypernuclei and massive neutron stars

Authors: M. Fortin, S.S. Avancini, C. Providência, I. Vidaña

Ref.: Phys. Rev. C accepted 96 (2017)

Abstract: The recent measurement of the mass of two 2M⊙ pulsars has raised the question whether such large masses allow for the existence of exotic degrees of freedom, such as hyperons, inside neutron stars. In the present work we will investigate how the existing hypernuclei properties may constrain the neutron star equation of state and confront the neutron star maximum masses obtained with equations of state calibrated to hypernuclei properties with the astrophysical 2M⊙ constraint. The study is performed using a relativistic mean field approach to describe both the hypernuclei and the neutron star equations of state. A set of five models consistent with 2M⊙ for a purely nucleonic composition are employed. The Λ-meson couplings are determined for all the models considered. Hyperonic stars with the complete baryonic octet are studied, restricting the coupling of the Σ and Ξ hyperons to the ω−, ρ− and σ−mesons due to the lack of experimental data, and maximum star masses calculated for unified equations of state. We conclude that the currently available hypernuclei experimental data and the lack of constraints on the asymmetric equation of state of nuclear matter at high densities do not allow to further constrain the neutron star matter equation of state using the recent 2M⊙ observations. It is also shown that the Λ potential in symmetric nuclear matter takes a value ∼30−32 MeV at saturation for the gωΛ coupling given by the SU(6) symmetry, close to values generally used in the literature. However, the Λ potential in Λ matter varies between -16 and -8 MeV taking for vector mesons couplings the SU(6) values, at variance with generally employed values between −1 and −5 MeV.

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