Nuclear Pasta in Neutron Stars
Under the extreme, high-density conditions inside a neutron star, the competition between nuclear attraction and Coulomb repulsion yields exotic structures called nuclear pasta. Ravenhall, Pethick, and Wilson were the first to investigate these unusual configurations of nuclear matter. Nuclear pasta is characterised by complex, non-spherical patterns such as tubes, sheets and bubbles; these configurations minimize their energy (see Figure 2). The name “nuclear pasta” arose due to a resemblance to different varieties of pasta — such as lasagna, gnocchi and spaghetti!