Transient particle acceleration in strongly magnetized neutron stars

Fulvio Melia, Marco Fatuzzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Although several reasonable physical processes have been proposed to account for the initial energy release in transient events on strongly magnetized neutron stars, and although the manifestation of this activity as a burst of X- or γ-radiation evidently results from the Compton upscattering of soft photons by relativistic electrons, a self-consistent picture for the particle acceleration itself is lacking. Here, we develop a detailed model in which sheared Alfvén waves generated by the energized stellar crust (e.g., due to a starquake) accelerate the charges to large Lorentz factors. We show that for canonical stellar parameters and a burst energy ∼1037 ergs, the maximum attainable Lorentz factor is γmax ∼ 50m, where m(∼2-3 cm-1) characterizes the shear of the magnetic perturbation. This value of γmax is consistent with the particle energy required to produce the most energetic y-rays (∼10-100 MeV) observed in y-ray bursts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-677
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 1991


  • Gamma rays: bursts
  • Gamma rays: general
  • Magnetic fields
  • Particle acceleration
  • Pulsars
  • Stars: neutron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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