Journal Article

Instabilities, nulls and subpulse drift in radio pulsars

P. B. Jones

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 414, issue 1, pages 759-769
Published in print June 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online June 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Instabilities, nulls and subpulse drift in radio pulsars

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This paper continues a previous study of neutron stars with positive polar-cap corotational charge density in which free emission of ions maintains the surface electric field boundary condition E·B= 0. The composition of the accelerated plasma on any subset of open magnetic flux lines above the polar cap alternates between two states: protons or positrons and ions, of which the proton state cannot support electron–positron pair creation at higher altitudes. The two states coexist at any instant of time above different moving elements of area on the polar cap and provide a physically consistent basis for a description of pulse nulls and subpulse drift. In the latter case, it is shown that the band separation P3 is determined not by the E×B drift velocity, as is generally assumed, but by the diffusion time for protons produced in reverse-electron showers to reach the region of the atmosphere from which they are accelerated. An initial comparison is made with the survey of subpulse drift published by Weltevrede et al.

Keywords: instabilities; plasmas; stars: neutron; pulsars: general

Journal Article.  10650 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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