We discuss the nature of phase transitions in the fermionic King model which describes tidally truncated quantum self-gravitating systems. This distribution function takes into account the escape of high energy particles and has a finite mass. On the other hand, the Pauli exclusion principle puts an upper bound on the phase space density of the system and stabilizes it against gravitational collapse. As a result, there exists a statistical equilibrium state for any accessible values of energy and temperature. We plot the caloric curves and investigate the nature of phase transitions as a function of the degeneracy parameter in both microcanonical and canonical ensembles. We consider stable and metastable states and emphasize the importance of the latter for systems with long-range interactions. Phase transitions can take place between a “gaseous” phase unaffected by quantum mechanics and a “condensed” phase dominated by quantum mechanics. The phase diagram exhibits two critical points, one in each ensemble, beyond which the phase transitions disappear. There also exist a region of negative specific heats and a situation of ensemble inequivalence for sufficiently large systems. We apply the fermionic King model to the case of dark matter halos made of massive neutrinos. The gaseous phase describes large halos and the condensed phase describes dwarf halos. Partially degenerate configurations describe intermediate size halos. We argue that large dark matter halos cannot harbor a fermion ball because these nucleus-halo configurations are thermodynamically unstable (saddle points of entropy). Large dark matter halos may rather contain a central black hole resulting from a dynamical instability of relativistic origin occurring during the gravothermal catastrophe.
P. Chavanis, M. Lemou and F. Mehats
Tue, 30 Sep 14