Pulsar giant pulse: Coherent instability near light cylinder

Wei Yang Wang, Ji Guang Lu, Song Bo Zhang, Xue Lei Chen, Rui Luo, Ren Xin Xu

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Giant pulses (GPs) are extremely bright individual pulses of radio pulsar. In microbursts of Crab pulsar, which is an active GP emitter, zebra-pattern-like spectral structures are observed, which are reminiscent of the “zebra bands” that are observed in type IV solar radio flares. However, band spacing linearly increases with the band center frequency of ∼5-30 GHz. In this study, we propose that the Crab pulsar GP can originate from the coherent instability of plasma near a light cylinder. Further, the growth of coherent instability can be attributed to the resonance observed between the cyclotron-resonant-excited wave and the background plasma oscillation. The particles can be injected into the closed-field line regions owing to magnetic reconnection near a light cylinder. These particles introduce a large amount of free energy that further causes cyclotron-resonant instability, which grows and amplifies radiative waves at frequencies close to the electron cyclotron harmonics that exhibit zebra-pattern-like spectral band structures. Further, these structures can be modulated by the resonance between the cyclotron-resonant-excited wave and the background plasma oscillation. In this scenario, the band structures of the Crab pulsar can be well fitted by a coherent instability model, where the plasma density of a light cylinder should be ~10 13-15 cm −3 , with an estimated gradient of >5:5 × 10 5 cm −4 . This process may be accompanied by high-energy emissions. Similar phenomena are expected to be detected in other types of GP sources that have magnetic fields of ≃ 10 6 G in a light cylinder.

Original languageEnglish
Article number979511
JournalScience China: Physics, Mechanics and Astronomy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019

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