Low density nuclear matter with light clusters in a generalized nonlinear relativistic mean-field model
AbstractWe systematically investigate the thermodynamic properties of homogeneous nuclear matter with light clusters at low densities and finite temperatures using a generalized nonlinear relativistic mean-field (gNL-RMF) model, in which light clusters up to α(1≤A≤4) are included as explicit degrees of freedom and treated as pointlike particles, with their interactions described by meson exchanges. The medium effects on the cluster binding energies are described by density- and temperature-dependent energy shifts with the parameters obtained by fitting the experimental cluster Mott densities. We find that the composition of low density nuclear matter with light clusters is essentially determined by the density and temperature dependence of the cluster binding energy shifts. Compared with the values of the conventional (second-order) symmetry energy, symmetry free energy, and symmetry entropy, their fourth-order values are found to be significant at low densities (n∼10−3fm−3) and low temperatures (T≲3MeV), indicating the invalidity of the empirical parabolic law for the isospin asymmetry dependence of these nuclear matter properties. Our results indicate that, in the density region of n≳0.02fm−3, the clustering effects become insignificant and the nuclear matter is dominated by the nucleon degree of freedom. In addition, we compare the gNL-RMF model predictions with the corresponding experimental data on the symmetry energy and symmetry free energy at low densities and finite temperatures extracted from heavy-ion collisions, and reasonable agreement is found.