The inner crust of a neutron star is a superfluid and inhomogeneous system, consisting of a lattice of nuclei immersed in a sea of neutrons. We perform a quantum calculation of the associated pairing gap and compare it to the results one obtains in the local density approximation (LDA). It is found that the LDA overestimates the spatial dependence of the gap, and leads to a specific heat of the system which is too large at low temperatures, as compared with the quantal result. This is caused by the neglect of proximity effects and the delocalized character of the single-particle wave functions close to the Fermi energy. It is possible to introduce an alternative, simple semiclassical approximation of the pairing gap which leads to a specific heat that is in good agreement with the quantum calculation.
- Received 23 January 1998
- Published in the issue dated August 1998
© 1998 The American Physical Society