EDP Sciences
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Volume 378, Number 2, November I 2001
Page(s) 509 - 521
Section Formation, structure and evolution of stars
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20011201

A&A 378, 509-521 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20011201

Neutron-capture and 2.22 MeV emission in the atmosphere of the secondary of an X-ray binary

P. Jean1 and N. Guessoum2

1  Centre d'Étude Spatiale des Rayonnements, CNRS/UPS, 9 avenue du colonel Roche, 31028 Toulouse, France
    e-mail: jean@cesr.fr
2  American University of Sharjah, College of Arts & Sciences, Physics Unit, Sharjah, UAE
    e-mail: nguessoum@aus.ac.ae

(Received 11 May 2001 / Accepted 8 August 2001 )

We consider the production of 2.22 MeV radiation resulting from the capture of neutrons in the atmosphere of the secondary in an X-ray binary system, where the neutrons are produced in the accretion disk around the compact primary star and radiated in all directions. We have considered several accretion disk models (ADAF, ADIOS, SLE, Uniform-Temperature) and a varity of parameters (accretion rate, mass of the compact object, mass, temperature and composition of the secondary star, distance between the two objects, etc.). The neutron rates are calculated by a network of nuclear reactions in the accretion disk, and this is handled by a reaction-rate formulation taking into account the structure equations given by each accretion model. The processes undergone by the neutrons in the atmosphere of the companion star are studied in great detail, including thermalization, elastic and inelastic scatterings, absorption, escape from the surface, decay, and capture by protons. The radiative transfer of the 2.22 MeV photons is treated separately, taking into consideration the composition and density of the star's atmosphere. The final flux of the 2.22 MeV radiation that can be detected from earth is calculated taking into account the distance to the source, the direction of observation with respect to the binary system frame, and the rotation of the source, as this can lead to an observable periodicity in the flux. We produce phasograms of the 2.22 MeV intensity as well as spectra of the line, where rotational Doppler shift effects can lead to changes in the spectra that are measurable by INTEGRAL's spectrometer (SPI).

Key words: X-rays: binaries -- accretion, accretion disks -- gamma-ray: theory -- lines: profiles -- nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances

Offprint request: P. Jean, Pierre.jeau@cesr.fr

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