Volume 82, Number 6, June 2008
Article Number 69002
Number of page(s) 5
Section Geophysics, Astronomy and Astrophysics
Published online 04 June 2008
EPL, 82 (2008) 69002
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/82/69002

Quantum Vacuum Friction in highly magnetized neutron stars

A. Dupays1, C. Rizzo1, D. Bakalov2 and G. F. Bignami3, 4

1  Laboratoire Collisions, Agrégats, Réactivité (UMR 5589, CNRS-Université de Toulouse, UPS), IRSAMC Toulouse, France, EU
2  INRNE, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Sofia, Bulgaria, EU
3  IUSS, Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori - Pavia, Italy, EU
4  INFN, Sezione di Pavia - Via A. Bassi 6, I-27100 Pavia, Italy, EU

received 11 April 2008; accepted in final form 30 April 2008; published June 2008
published online 4 June 2008

In this letter we calculate the energy loss of a highly magnetized neutron star due to Quantum Vacuum Friction (QVF). Taking into account one-loop corrections in the effective Heisenberg-Euler Lagrangian of the light-light interaction, we derive an analytic expression for QVF allowing us to take into account a magnetic field at the surface of the star as high as 1011 T. In the case of magnetars, with magnetic fields above the QED critical field, we show that the QVF is the dominating energy loss process. This has important consequences, in particular for the inferred value of the magnetic field. This also indicates the need for independent measurements of magnetic field, energy loss rate, and the braking index in order to fully characterize magnetars.

97.60.Jd - Neutron stars.
12.20.Ds - Specific calculations.
12.20.Fv - Experimental tests.

© EPLA 2008