Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : We investigate β-interactions of free nucleons and their impact on the electron fraction (Ye) and r-process nucleosynthesis in ejecta characteristic of binary neutron star mergers (BNSMs). For that we employ trajectories from a relativistic BNSM model to represent the density– temperature evolutions in our parametric study. In the high-density environment, positron captures decrease the neutron richness at the high temperatures predicted by the hydrody- namic simulation. Circumventing the complexities of modelling three-dimensional neutrino transport, (anti)neutrino captures are parametrized in terms of prescribed neutrino luminosities and mean energies, guided by published results and assumed as constant in time. Depending sensitively on the adopted νe–ν ̄e luminosity ratio, neutrino processes increase Ye to values between 0.25 and 0.40, still allowing for a successful r-process compatible with the observed solar abundance distribution and a significant fraction of the ejecta consisting of r-process nuclei. If the νe luminosities and mean energies are relatively large compared to the ν ̄e prop- erties, the mean Ye might reach values >0.40 so that neutrino captures seriously compromise the success of the r-process. In this case, the r-abundances remain compatible with the solar distribution, but the total amount of ejected r-material is reduced to a few per cent, because the production of iron-peak elements is favoured. Proper neutrino physics, in particular also neutrino absorption, have to be included in BNSM simulations before final conclusions can be drawn concerning r-processing in this environment and concerning observational conse- quences like kilonovae, whose peak brightness and colour temperature are sensitive to the composition-dependent opacity of the ejecta.