Journal Article

Collisional mechanism for gamma-ray burst emission

Andrei M. Beloborodov

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 407, issue 2, pages 1033-1047
Published in print September 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online September 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.16770.x
Collisional mechanism for gamma-ray burst emission

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Nuclear and Coulomb collisions in gamma-ray burst (GRB) jets create a hot e± plasma. This collisional heating starts when the jet is still opaque, and extends to the transparent region. The e± plasma radiates its energy. As a result, a large fraction of the jet energy is converted to escaping radiation with a well-defined spectrum. The process is simulated in detail using the known rates of collisions and accurate calculations of radiative transfer in the expanding jet. The result reproduces the spectra of observed GRBs that typically peak near 1 MeV and extend to much higher energies with a photon index β∼−2.5. This suggests that collisional heating may be the main mechanism for GRB emission.

Keywords: plasmas; radiation mechanisms: non-thermal; radiation mechanisms: thermal; radiative transfer; scattering; gamma-rays: bursts, theory; relativity

Journal Article.  13088 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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