skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Fast Radio Bursts’ Emission Mechanism: Implication from Localization


We argue that the localization of the repeating fast radio bursts (FRBs) at ∼1 Gpc excludes a rotationally powered type of radio emission (e.g., analogs of Crab’s giant pulses coming from very young energetic pulsars) as the origin of FRBs.

  1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, Purdue University, 525 Northwestern Avenue, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2036 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 838; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States

Citation Formats

Lyutikov, Maxim. Fast Radio Bursts’ Emission Mechanism: Implication from Localization. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/AA62FA.
Lyutikov, Maxim. Fast Radio Bursts’ Emission Mechanism: Implication from Localization. United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/AA62FA.
Lyutikov, Maxim. Mon . "Fast Radio Bursts’ Emission Mechanism: Implication from Localization". United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/AA62FA.
title = {Fast Radio Bursts’ Emission Mechanism: Implication from Localization},
author = {Lyutikov, Maxim},
abstractNote = {We argue that the localization of the repeating fast radio bursts (FRBs) at ∼1 Gpc excludes a rotationally powered type of radio emission (e.g., analogs of Crab’s giant pulses coming from very young energetic pulsars) as the origin of FRBs.},
doi = {10.3847/2041-8213/AA62FA},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal Letters},
number = 1,
volume = 838,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Mar 20 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Mon Mar 20 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
  • Type II bursts are formed by plasma waves. The generation of plasma waves is possible only if the drift velocity of electrons is greater than the thermal velocity. This condition is not fulfilled for a regular corpuscular stream. However, it can be fuifilled for drift motion of electrons in a collisionless shock-wave front. Estimates show that in this case radio emission with an intensity of the order of that observed can originate. Similar emission is generated in a shock wave due to motion of the stream relative to the earth. The plasma waves formed can accelerate the particles of themore » radiation belts. (auth)« less
  • We consider some general implications of bright γ -ray counterparts to fast radio bursts (FRBs). We show that even if these manifest in only a fraction of FRBs, γ -ray detections with current satellites (including Swift ) can provide stringent constraints on cosmological FRB models. If the energy is drawn from the magnetic energy of a compact object such as a magnetized neutron star, the sources should be nearby and be very rare. If the intergalactic medium is responsible for the observed dispersion measure, the required γ -ray energy is comparable to that of the early afterglow or extended emissionmore » of short γ -ray bursts. While this can be reconciled with the rotation energy of compact objects, as expected in many merger scenarios, the prompt outflow that yields the γ -rays is too dense for radio waves to escape. Highly relativistic winds launched in a precursor phase, and forming a wind bubble, may avoid the scattering and absorption limits and could yield FRB emission. Largely independent of source models, we show that detectable radio afterglow emission from γ -ray bright FRBs can reasonably be anticipated. Gravitational wave searches can also be expected to provide useful tests.« less
  • Most black holes (BHs) will absorb a neutron star (NS) companion fully intact without tidal disruption, suggesting the pair will remain dark to telescopes. Even without tidal disruption, electromagnetic (EM) luminosity is generated from the battery phase of the binary when the BH interacts with the NS magnetic field. Originally, the luminosity was expected to be in high-energy X-rays or gamma-rays, however, we conjecture that some of the battery power is emitted in the radio bandwidth. While the luminosity and timescale are suggestive of fast radio bursts (FRBs; millisecond-scale radio transients) NS–BH coalescence rates are too low to make thesemore » a primary FRB source. Instead, we propose that the transients form a FRB sub-population, distinguishable by a double peak with a precursor. The rapid ramp-up in luminosity manifests as a precursor to the burst which is 20%–80% as luminous given 0.5 ms timing resolution. The main burst arises from the peak luminosity before the merger. The post-merger burst follows from the NS magnetic field migration to the BH, causing a shock. NS–BH pairs are especially desirable for ground-based gravitational wave (GW) observatories since the pair might not otherwise be detected, with EM counterparts greatly augmenting the scientific leverage beyond the GW signal. The EM signal’s ability to break degeneracies in the parameters encoded in the GW and probe the NS magnetic field strength is quite valuable, yielding insights into open problems in NS magnetic field decay.« less
  • Recently, Thornton et al. reported the detection of four fast radio bursts (FRBs). The dispersion measures indicate that the sources of these FRBs are at cosmological distance. Given the large full sky event rate ∼10{sup 4} sky{sup –1} day{sup –1}, the FRBs are a promising target for multi-messenger astronomy. Here we propose double degenerate, binary white-dwarf (WD) mergers as the source of FRBs, which are produced by coherent emission from the polar region of a rapidly rotating, magnetized massive WD formed after the merger. The basic characteristics of the FRBs, such as the energetics, emission duration and event rate, canmore » be consistently explained in this scenario. As a result, we predict that some FRBs can accompany type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) or X-ray debris disks. Simultaneous detection could test our scenario and probe the progenitors of SNe Ia, and moreover would provide a novel constraint on the cosmological parameters. We strongly encourage future SN and X-ray surveys that follow up FRBs.« less
  • The origin of fast radio bursts remains a puzzle. Suggestions have been made that they are produced within the Earth’s atmosphere, in stellar coronae, in other galaxies, or at cosmological distances. If they are extraterrestrial, the implied brightness temperature is very high, and therefore the induced scattering places constraints on possible models. In this paper, constraints are obtained on flares from coronae of nearby stars. It is shown that the radio pulses with the observed power could not be generated if the plasma density within and in the nearest vicinity of the source is as high as is necessary tomore » provide the observed dispersion measure. However, one cannot exclude the possibility that the pulses are generated within a bubble with a very low density and pass through the dense plasma only in the outer corona.« less