Efficiency of synchrotron radiation from rotation-powered pulsars.
KISAKA S. and TANAKA S.J.
Abstract (from CDS):
Synchrotron radiation is widely considered to be the origin of the pulsed non-thermal emissions from rotation-powered pulsars in optical and X-ray bands. In this paper, we study the synchrotron radiation emitted by the created electron and positron pairs in the pulsar magnetosphere to constrain the energy conversion efficiency from the Poynting flux to the particle energy flux. We model two pair creation processes, two-photon collision, which efficiently works in young γ-ray pulsars (<=106 year), and magnetic pair creation, which is the dominant process to supply pairs in old pulsars (>=106 year). Using the analytical model, we derive the maximum synchrotron luminosity as a function of the energy conversion efficiency. From the comparison with observations, we find that the energy conversion efficiency to the accelerated particles should be an order of unity in the magnetosphere, even though we make a number of the optimistic assumptions to enlarge the synchrotron luminosity. In order to explain the luminosity of the non-thermal X-ray/optical emission from pulsars with low spin-down luminosity Lsd <= 1034 erg s–1, non-dipole magnetic field components should be dominant at the emission region. For the γ-ray pulsars with Lsd <= 1035 erg s–1, observed γ-ray to X-ray and optical flux ratios are much higher than the flux ratio between curvature and the synchrotron radiations. We discuss some possibilities such as the coexistence of multiple accelerators in the magnetosphere as suggested from the recent numerical simulation results. The obtained maximum luminosity would be useful to select observational targets in X-ray and optical bands.