Vol 14, No 3

Non-thermal emissions from accreting X-ray binary pulsars

Jian-Fu Zhang, Hui Jin, Ai-Jun Dong


Abstract We study non-thermal emissions from cascade processes in accreting X-ray binary pulsars. In the framework of the magnetospheric gap model, we consider three photon fields, which are respectively from the polar cap of a pulsar, its surrounding accretion disk and a massive companion star with a circumstellar disk, to shield the gap. The gap-accelerated ultra-relativistic electrons emit high-energy photons via curvature radiation and an inverse Compton scattering process, in which part of these high-energy photons absorbed by interactions with the surrounding photon fields can facilitate the following electromagnetic cascades. We first carry out numerical calculations of the cascade processes in order to obtain the predicted emission spectra. As an example, we subsequently apply this model to reproduce observations of LS I +61° 303. We find that the results can fit observations ranging from hard X-ray to γ-ray bands. In particular, they can explain the spectral cutoff feature at a few GeV. Finally, we suggest that the emissions detected by the Fermi Large Area Telescope from X-ray binary pulsars originate in the magnetosphere region of the pulsar.


Keywords stars: binaries — stars: individual (LS I + 61° 303) — radiation mecha- nisms: non-thermal — gamma rays: theory

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