Instability of compact stars with a nonminimal scalar-derivative coupling

Ryotaro Kase, Shinji Tsujikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


For a theory in which a scalar field φ has a nonminimal derivative coupling to the Einstein tensor Gµν of the form φGµνµνφ, it is known that there exists a branch of static and spherically-symmetric relativistic stars endowed with a scalar hair in their interiors. We study the stability of such hairy solutions with a radial field dependence φ(r) against odd- and even-parity perturbations. We show that, for the star compactness C smaller than 1/3, they are prone to Laplacian instabilities of the even-parity perturbation associated with the scalar-field propagation along an angular direction. Even for C > 1/3, the hairy star solutions are subject to ghost instabilities. We also find that even the other branch with a vanishing background field derivative is unstable for a positive perfect-fluid pressure, due to nonstandard propagation of the field perturbation δφ inside the star. Thus, there are no stable star configurations in derivative coupling theory without a standard kinetic term, including both relativistic and nonrelativistic compact objects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number008
JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan


  • Modified gravity
  • Neutron stars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


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