Generalized Boltzmann formalism for oscillating neutrinos

P. Strack, Adam S. Burrows

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


In the standard approaches to neutrino transport in the simulation of core-collapse supernovas, one will often start from the classical Boltzmann equation for the neutrino's spatial, temporal, and spectral evolution. For each neutrino species, and its antiparticle, the classical density in phase space, or the associated specific intensity, will be calculated as a function of time. The neutrino radiation is coupled to matter by source and sink terms on the "right-hand side" of the transport equation and together with the equations of hydrodynamics this set of coupled partial differential equations for classical densities describes, in principle, the evolution of core collapse and explosion. However, with the possibility of neutrino oscillations between species, a purely quantum-physical effect, how to generalize this set of Boltzmann equations for classical quantities to reflect oscillation physics has not been clear. To date, the formalisms developed have retained the character of quantum operator physics involving complex quantities and have not been suitable for easy incorporation into standard supernova codes. In this paper, we derive generalized Boltzmann equations for quasiclassical, real-valued phase-space densities that retain all the standard oscillation phenomenology, including the matter-enhanced resonant flavor conversion (Mikheev-Smirnov- Wolfenstein effect), neutrino self-interactions, and the interplay between decohering matter coupling and flavor oscillations. With this formalism, any code(s) that can now handle the solution of the classical Boltzmann or transport equation can easily be generalized to include neutrino oscillations in a quantum-physically consistent fashion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number093004
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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