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Title: AB INITIO PULSAR MAGNETOSPHERE: THE ROLE OF GENERAL RELATIVITY

It has recently been demonstrated that self-consistent particle-in-cell simulations of low-obliquity pulsar magnetospheres in flat spacetime show weak particle acceleration and no pair production near the poles. We investigate the validity of this conclusion in a more realistic spacetime geometry via general-relativistic particle-in-cell simulations of the aligned pulsar magnetosphere with pair formation. We find that the addition of the frame-dragging effect makes the local current density along the magnetic field larger than the Goldreich–Julian value, which leads to unscreened parallel electric fields and the ignition of a pair cascade. When pair production is active, we observe field oscillations in the open field bundle, which could be related to pulsar radio emission. We conclude that general-relativistic effects are essential for the existence of the pulsar mechanism in low-obliquity rotators.
Authors:
; ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Ivy Lane, Princeton, NJ 08544 (United States)
  2. Departments of Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22518658
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 815; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ACCELERATION; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; CURRENT DENSITY; ELECTRIC FIELDS; GENERAL RELATIVITY THEORY; MAGNETIC FIELDS; OSCILLATIONS; PAIR PRODUCTION; PLASMA; PULSARS; RELATIVISTIC RANGE; SPACE-TIME; STELLAR MAGNETOSPHERES