Ph.D., Astrophysics, 1991 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
M.S., Astrophysics, 1987 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.S., Physics, 1984 University of Missouri-Rolla
Past graduate students:
Michelle Larson (Ph.D 2001)
Steve Price (Ph.D 2012)
One of the outstanding questions in modern physics research concerns the state of matter above nuclear density (~1014 g cm-3). It is unknown whether matter at these densities is in the form of nucleons, quarks, kaons, hyperons, or other exotica. Laboratory experiments are only beginning to shed light on this question. Whatever the state of superdense matter, it exists in abundance in the neutron stars we have throughout our galaxy (now over ~2000 known). My research uses neutron stars as laboratories with which to study matter at densities currently inaccessible in terrestrial laboratories. The conditions in a neutron star are extreme. The average density is such that 1 cm3 of material has a mass exceeding 108 metric tons. Typical internal temperatures are ~108 K and above. A neutron star contains about a solar mass of superconducting liquid (denoted SFn in the figure below), permeated by a magnetic field that is at least one hundred thousand times larger than what can be produced even briefly on Earth. Neutron stars have violent lives; they can suffer starquakes, produce jumps in spin rate, accrete matter from other stars or the interstellar medium, and produce explosions. Some of these events involve energies in excess of 1047 ergs (the amount of energy emitted by the Sun in 10 million years).
I am currently studying the possibility that the superfluid liquid interior is turbulent. I am also studying how neutron stars cool with time and explosions from highly-magnetized neutron stars. I am working to assemble a comprehensive picture of the inner workings of these fascinating objects.
I am currently looking for at least one graduate student to study superfluid turbulence in neutron stars. I have other projects too.
"Time-correlated structure in spin fluctuations in pulsars", S. Price, B. Link, S. N. Shore, & D. Nice 2012, MNRAS, 426, 2507.
"Instability of superfluid flow in the neutron star inner crust", B. Link 2012, MNRAS, 422, 1640.
"Instability of superfluid flow in the neutron star core", B. Link 2012, MNRAS, 421, 2682.
"Thermoresistive instability in magnetar crusts", S. Price, B. Link, R. I. Epstein, & H. Li 2012, MNRAS, 420, 949.
"Dynamics of Quantum Vorticity in a Random Potential, B. Link 2009, PRL, 102, 131101.
"Evidence for Heating of Neutron Stars by Magnetic Field Decay", J. Pons, B. Link, J. A. Miralles & U. Geppert 2007, PRL, 98, 071101.
NASA Astrophysics Theory Program, 2012-2015
NSF Astronomical Sciences, 2012-2015