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Creators/Authors contains: "Hakobyan, Hayk"

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  1. Abstract

    We present the results of 3D particle-in-cell simulations that explore relativistic magnetic reconnection in pair plasma with strong synchrotron cooling and a small mass fraction of nonradiating ions. Our results demonstrate that the structure of the current sheet is highly sensitive to the dynamic efficiency of radiative cooling. Specifically, stronger cooling leads to more significant compression of the plasma and magnetic field within the plasmoids. We demonstrate that ions can be efficiently accelerated to energies exceeding the plasma magnetization parameter, ≫σ, and form a hard power-law energy distribution,fiγ−1. This conclusion implies a highly efficient proton acceleration in the magnetospheres of young pulsars. Conversely, the energies of pairs are limited to eitherσin the strong cooling regime or the radiation burnoff limit,γsyn, when cooling is weak. We find that the high-energy radiation from pairs above the synchrotron burnoff limit,εc≈ 16 MeV, is only efficiently produced in the strong cooling regime,γsyn<σ. In this regime, we find that the spectral cutoff scales asεcutεc(σ/γsyn) and the highest energy photons are beamed along the direction of the upstream magnetic field, consistent with the phenomenological models of gamma-ray emission from young pulsars. Furthermore, our results place constraints on the reconnection-driven models of gamma-ray flares in the Crab Nebula.

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  2. Abstract

    Some of the most energetic pulsars exhibit rotation-modulatedγ-ray emission in the 0.1–100 GeV band. The luminosity of this emission is typically 0.1%–10% of the pulsar spin-down power (γ-ray efficiency), implying that a significant fraction of the available electromagnetic energy is dissipated in the magnetosphere and reradiated as high-energy photons. To investigate this phenomenon we model a pulsar magnetosphere using 3D particle-in-cell simulations with strong synchrotron cooling. We particularly focus on the dynamics of the equatorial current sheet where magnetic reconnection and energy dissipation take place. Our simulations demonstrate that a fraction of the spin-down power dissipated in the magnetospheric current sheet is controlled by the rate of magnetic reconnection at microphysical plasma scales and only depends on the pulsar inclination angle. We demonstrate that the maximum energy and the distribution function of accelerated pairs is controlled by the available magnetic energy per particle near the current sheet, the magnetization parameter. The shape and the extent of the plasma distribution is imprinted in the observed synchrotron emission, in particular, in the peak and the cutoff of the observed spectrum. We study how the strength of synchrotron cooling affects the observed variety of spectral shapes. Our conclusions naturally explain why pulsars with higher spin-down power have wider spectral shapes and, as a result, lowerγ-ray efficiency.

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  3. null (Ed.)