Collisional Triggering of Fast Flavor Conversions of Supernova Neutrinos

Phys Rev Lett. 2019 Mar 8;122(9):091101. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.122.091101.


Fast flavor conversions of supernova neutrinos, possible near the neutrinosphere, depends on an interesting interplay of collisions and neutrino oscillations. Contrary to naïve expectations, the rate of self-induced neutrino oscillations, due to neutrino-neutrino forward scattering, comfortably exceeds the rate of collisions even deep inside the supernova core. Consistently accounting for collisions and oscillations, we present the first calculations to show that collisions can create the conditions for fast flavor conversions of neutrinos, but oscillations can continue without significant damping thereafter. This may have interesting consequences for supernova explosions and the nature of its associated neutrino emission.