Radiation-hydrodynamical simulations of massive star formation using Monte Carlo radiative transfer: I. Algorithms and numerical methods
We present a set of new numerical methods that are relevant to calculating radiation pressure terms in hydrodynamics calculations, with a particular focus on massive star formation. The radiation force is determined from a Monte Carlo estimator and enables a complete treatment of the detailed microphysics, including polychromatic radiation and anisotropic scattering, in both the free-streaming and optically-thick limits. Since the new method is computationally demanding we have developed two new methods that speed up the algorithm. The first is a photon packet splitting algorithm that enables efficient treatment of the Monte Carlo process in very optically thick regions. The second is a parallelisation method that distributes the Monte Carlo workload over many instances of the hydrodynamic domain, resulting in excellent scaling of the radiation step. We also describe the implementation of a sink particle method that enables us to follow the accretion onto, and the growth of, the protostars. We detail the results of extensive testing and benchmarking of the new algorithms.