Supernovae are the most powerful cosmic sources of MeV neutrinos. These elementary particles play a crucial role when the evolution of a massive star is terminated by the collapse of its core to a neutron star or a black hole and the star explodes as supernova. The release of electron neutrinos, which are abundantly produced by electron captures, accelerates the catastrophic infall and causes a gradual neutronization of the stellar plasma by converting protons to neutrons as dominant constituents of neutron star matter. The emission of neutrinos and antineutrinos of all flavors carries away the gravitational binding energy of the compact remnant and drives its evolution from the hot initial to the cold final state. The absorption of electron neutrinos and antineutrinos in the surroundings of the newly formed neutron star can power the supernova explosion and determines the conditions in the innermost supernova ejecta, making them an interesting site for the nucleosynthesis of iron-group elements and trans-iron nuclei. In this Chapter the basic neutrino physics in supernova cores and nascent neutron stars will be discussed. This includes the most relevant neutrino production, absorption, and scattering processes, elementary aspects of neutrino transport in dense environments, the characteristic neutrino emission phases with their typical signal features, and the perspectives connected to a measurement of the neutrino signal from a future galactic supernova.
Wed, 1 Mar 17
Comments: Author version of chapter for ‘Handbook of Supernovae,’ edited by A. Alsabti and P. Murdin, Springer. 30 pages, 9 figures