Critical collapse of the massless scalar field in axisymmetry

Matthew W. Choptuik, Eric W. Hirschmann, Steven L. Liebling, Frans Pretorius

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78 Scopus citations


We present the results from a numerical study of critical gravitational collapse of axisymmetric distributions of massless scalar field energy. We find threshold behavior that can be described by the spherically symmetric critical solution with axisymmetric perturbations. However, we see indications of a growing, nonspherical mode about the spherically symmetric critical solution. The effect of this instability is that the small asymmetry present in what would otherwise be a spherically symmetric self-similar solution grows. This growth continues until a bifurcation occurs and two distinct regions form on the axis, each resembling the spherically symmetric self-similar solution. The existence of a nonspherical unstable mode is in conflict with previous perturbative results, and we therefore discuss whether such a mode exists in the continuum limit, or whether we are instead seeing a marginally stable mode that is rendered unstable by numerical approximation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number044007
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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