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Fast radio burst source properties from polarization measurements

Lu, Wenbin and Kumar, Pawan and Narayan, Ramesh (2019) Fast radio burst source properties from polarization measurements. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 483 (1). pp. 359-369. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1093/mnras/sty2829.

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Recent polarization measurements of fast radio bursts (FRBs) provide new insights on these enigmatic sources. We show that the nearly 100 per cent linear polarization and small variation of the polarization position angles (PAs) of multiple bursts from the same source suggest that the radiation is produced near the surface of a strongly magnetized neutron star. As the emitted radiation travels through the magnetosphere, the electric vector of the X-mode wave adiabatically rotates and stays perpendicular to the local magnetic field direction. The PA freezes at a radius where the plasma density becomes too small to be able to turn the electric vector. At the freeze-out radius, the electric field is perpendicular to the magnetic dipole moment of the neutron star projected in the plane of the sky, independent of the radiation mechanism or the orientation of the magnetic field in the emission region. We discuss a number of predictions of the model. The variation of PAs from repeating FRBs should follow the rotational period of the underlying neutron star (but the burst occurrence may not be periodic). Measuring this period will provide crucial support for the neutron star nature of the progenitors of FRBs. For FRB 121102, the small range of PA variation means that the magnetic inclination angle is less than about 20° and that the observer’s line of sight is outside the magnetic inclination cone. Other repeating FRBs may have a different range of PA variation from that of FRB 121102, depending on the magnetic inclination and the observer’s viewing angle.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Lu, Wenbin0000-0002-1568-7461
Narayan, Ramesh0000-0002-1919-2730
Additional Information:© 2018 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Received: 20 July 2018; Revision Received: 11 October 2018; Accepted: 16 October 2018; Published: 22 October 2018. We thank Emily Petroff and Jason Hessels for useful discussions. WL was supported by the David and Ellen Lee Fellowship at Caltech. RN was supported in part by NSF grant AST-1312651 and by the Black Hole Initiative at Harvard University, which is funded by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
Group:TAPIR, Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics
Funding AgencyGrant Number
David and Ellen Lee Postdoctoral ScholarshipUNSPECIFIED
Harvard UniversityUNSPECIFIED
John Templeton FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:methods: analytical
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190411-090344555
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Official Citation:Wenbin Lu, Pawan Kumar, Ramesh Narayan, Fast radio burst source properties from polarization measurements, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 483, Issue 1, February 2019, Pages 359–369,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:94656
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:11 Apr 2019 17:11
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:06

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