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  1. Abstract The heaviest elements in the universe are synthesized through rapid neutron capture ( r -process) in extremely neutron-rich outflows. Neutron star mergers were established as an important r -process source through the multimessenger observation of GW170817. Collapsars were also proposed as a potentially major source of heavy elements; however, this is difficult to probe through optical observations due to contamination by other emission mechanisms. Here we present observational constraints on r -process nucleosynthesis by collapsars based on radio follow-up observations of nearby long gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). We make the hypothesis that late-time radio emission arises from the collapsar wind ejecta responsible for forging r -process elements, and consider the constraints that can be set on this scenario using radio observations of a sample of Swift/Burst Alert Telescope GRBs located within 2 Gpc. No radio counterpart was identified in excess of the radio afterglow of the GRBs in our sample. This gives the strictest limit to the collapsar r -process contribution of ≲0.2 M ⊙ for GRB 060505 and GRB 05826, under the models we considered. Our results additionally constrain energy injection by a long-lived neutron star remnant in some of the considered GRBs. While our results are in tensionmore »with collapsars being the majority of r -process production sites, the ejecta mass and velocity profile of collapsar winds, and the emission parameters, are not yet well modeled. As such, our results are currently subject to large uncertainties, but further theoretical work could greatly improve them.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  3. Abstract In this paper we report the first close, high-resolution observations of downward-directed terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs) detected by the large-area Telescope Array cosmic ray observatory, obtained in conjunction with broadband VHF interferometer and fast electric field change measurements of the parent discharge. The results show that the TGFs occur during strong initial breakdown pulses (IBPs) in the first few milliseconds of negative cloud-to-ground and low-altitude intracloud flashes, and that the IBPs are produced by a newly-identified streamer-based discharge process called fast negative breakdown. The observations indicate the relativistic runaway electron avalanches (RREAs) responsible for producing the TGFs are initiated by embedded spark-like transient conducting events (TCEs) within the fast streamer system, and potentially also by individual fast streamers themselves. The TCEs are inferred to be the cause of impulsive sub-pulses that are characteristic features of classic IBP sferics. Additional development of the avalanches would be facilitated by the enhanced electric field ahead of the advancing front of the fast negative breakdown. In addition to showing the nature of IBPs and their enigmatic sub-pulses, the observations also provide a possible explanation for the unsolved question of how the streamer to leader transition occurs during the initial negative breakdown, namely asmore »a result of strong currents flowing in the final stage of successive IBPs, extending backward through both the IBP itself and the negative streamer breakdown preceding the IBP.« less