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Title: AB INITIO PULSAR MAGNETOSPHERE: THREE-DIMENSIONAL PARTICLE-IN-CELL SIMULATIONS OF OBLIQUE PULSARS

We present “first-principles” relativistic particle-in-cell simulations of the oblique pulsar magnetosphere with pair formation. The magnetosphere starts to form with particles extracted from the surface of the neutron star. These particles are accelerated by surface electric fields and emit photons capable of producing electron–positron pairs. We inject secondary pairs at the locations of primary energetic particles whose energy exceeds the threshold for pair formation. We find solutions that are close to the ideal force-free magnetosphere with the Y-point and current sheet. Solutions with obliquities ≤40° do not show pair production in the open field line region because the local current density along the magnetic field is below the Goldreich–Julian value. The bulk outflow in these solutions is charge-separated, and pair formation happens in the current sheet and return current layer only. Solutions with higher inclinations show pair production in the open field line region, with high multiplicity of the bulk flow and the size of the pair-producing region increasing with inclination. We observe the spin-down of the star to be comparable to MHD model predictions. The magnetic dissipation in the current sheet ranges between 20% for the aligned rotator and 3% for the orthogonal rotator. Our results suggest that formore » low obliquity neutron stars with suppressed pair formation at the light cylinder, the presence of phenomena related to pair activity in the bulk of the polar region, e.g., radio emission, may crucially depend on the physics beyond our simplified model, such as the effects of curved spacetime or multipolar surface fields.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1]
  1. Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Ivy Lane, Princeton, NJ 08540 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22518811
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 801; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; CURRENT DENSITY; ELECTRIC FIELDS; INCLINATION; LAYERS; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MAGNETOHYDRODYNAMICS; MULTIPLICITY; NEUTRON STARS; PAIR PRODUCTION; PLASMA; PULSARS; RELATIVISTIC RANGE; ROTATION; SPACE-TIME; STELLAR MAGNETOSPHERES; SURFACES; VISIBLE RADIATION