On the surface extraction of electrons in a pulsar

D. A. Diver, A. A. da Costa, E. W. Laing, Craig R. Stark, L. F. A. Teodoro

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We present a novel description of how energetic electrons may be ejected from the pulsar interior into the atmosphere, based on the collective electrostatic oscillations of interior electrons confined to move parallel to the magnetic field. The size of the interior magnetic field influences the interior plasma frequency, via the associated matter density compression. The plasma oscillations occur close to the regions of maximum magnetic field curvature, that is close to the magnetic poles where the majority of magnetic flux emerges. Given that these oscillations have a density-dependent maximum amplitude before wavebreaking occurs, such waves can eject energetic electrons using only the self-field of the electron population in the interior. Moreover, photons emitted by electrons in the bulk of the oscillation can escape along the field lines by virtue of the lower opacity there (and the fact that they are emitted predominantly in this direction), leading to features in the spectra of pulsars.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-620
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Acceleration of particles
  • Plasmas
  • Pulsars: general


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