Extreme matter meets extreme gravity: Ultraheavy neutron stars with phase transitions

Hung Tan, Travis Dore, Veronica Dexheimer, Jacquelyn Noronha-Hostler, Nicolás Yunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The speed of sound of the matter within neutron stars may contain nonsmooth structure related to first- or higher-order phase transitions. Here we investigate what are the observable consequences of structure in the speed of sound, such as bumps, spikes, step functions, plateaus, and kinks. One of the main consequences is the possibility of ultraheavy neutron stars (with masses larger than 2.5 solar masses), mass twins in heavy (with masses larger than 2 solar masses) and ultraheavy neutron stars. These stars pass all observational and theoretical constraints, including those imposed by recent LIGO/Virgo gravitational-wave observations and NICER x-ray observations. We thoroughly investigate other consequences of this structure in the speed of sound to develop an understanding of how nonsmooth features affect astrophysical observables, such as stellar radii, tidal deformability, moment of inertia, and Love number. Our results have important implications for future gravitational wave and x-ray observations of neutron stars and their impact in nuclear astrophysics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number023018
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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