A Hot Water Bottle for Aging Neutron Stars

Mark Alford, Pooja Jotwani, Christoforos Kouvaris, Joydip Kundu, Krishna Rajagopal

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The gapless color-flavor locked (gCFL) phase is the second-densest phase of matter in the QCD phase diagram, making it a plausible constituent of the core of neutron stars. We show that even a relatively small region of gCFL matter in a star will dominate both the heat capacity C_V and the heat loss by neutrino emission L_\nu. The gCFL phase is characterized by an unusual quasiparticle dispersion relation that makes both its specific heat c_V and its neutrino emissivity epsilon_\nu parametrically larger than in any other phase of nuclear or quark matter. During the epoch in which the cooling of the star is dominated by direct Urca neutrino emission, the presence of a gCFL region does not strongly alter the cooling history because the enhancements of C_V and L_\nu cancel against each other. At late times, however, the cooling is dominated by photon emission from the surface, so L_\nu is irrelevant, and the anomalously large heat capacity of the gCFL region keeps the star warm. The temperature drops with time as T\sim t^{-1.4} rather than the canonical T\sim t^{-5}. This provides a unique and potentially observable signature of gCFL quark matter.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhys.Rev. D
Pages (from-to)114011
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • astro-ph
  • hep-ph
  • nucl-th


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