Journal Article

Observational limits on inverse Compton processes in gamma-ray bursts

Tsvi Piran, Re'em Sari and Yuan-Chuan Zou

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 393, issue 4, pages 1107-1113
Published in print March 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online February 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Observational limits on inverse Compton processes in gamma-ray bursts

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Inverse Compton (IC) scattering is one of two viable mechanisms that can produce prompt non-thermal soft gamma-ray emission in gamma-ray bursts. IC requires low-energy seed photons and a population of relativistic electrons that upscatter them. The same electrons will upscatter the gamma-ray photons to even higher energies in the TeV range. Using the current upper limits on the prompt optical emission, we show that under general conservative assumption the IC mechanism suffers from an ‘energy crisis’. Namely, IC will overproduce a very high energy component that would carry much more energy than the observed prompt gamma-rays, or alternatively it will require a low-energy seed that is more energetic than the prompt gamma-rays. Our analysis is general, and it makes no assumptions on the specific mechanism that produces the relativistic electron population.

Keywords: radiation mechanisms: non-thermal; ISM: jets and outflows; gamma-rays: bursts

Journal Article.  4534 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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