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Astron. Astrophys. 342, 614-621 (1999)

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The effective electron mass in core-collapse supernovae

Stephen J. Hardy

Max-Plank-Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 1, D-85740 Garching bei München, Germany

Received 11 September 1998 / Accepted 27 November 1998


Finite temperature field theory is used to calculate the correction to the mass of the electron in plasma with finite temperature and arbitrary chemical potential, and the results are applied to the core regions of type II supernovae (SNe). It is shown that the effective electron mass varies between 1 MeV at the edge of the SN core up to 11 MeV near the center. This changed electron mass affects the rates of the electroweak processes which involve electrons and positrons. Due to the high electron chemical potential, the total emissivities and absorptivities of interactions involving electrons are only reduced a fraction of a percent. However, for interactions involving positrons, the emissivities and absorptivities are reduced by up to 20 percent. This is of particular significance for the reaction [FORMULA] which is a source of opacity for antineutrinos in the cores of type II SNe.

Key words: dense matter – nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances – stars: supernovae: general

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: February 22, 1999