EDP Sciences
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Volume 384, Number 2, March III 2002
Page(s) 532 - 544
Section Formation, structure and evolution of stars
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20020052

A&A 384, 532-544 (2002)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20020052

Searching for pulsars in close circular binary systems

S. Jouteux1, R. Ramachandran1, 2, B. W. Stappers2, P. G. Jonker1 and M. van der Klis1

1  Sterrenkundig Instituut "Anton Pannekoek", Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2  Stichting ASTRON, Postbus 2, 7990 AA Dwingeloo, The Netherlands

(Received 4 September 2001 / Accepted 10 January 2002)

We present a detailed mathematical analysis of the Fourier response of binary pulsar signals whose frequencies are modulated by circular orbital motion. The fluctuation power spectrum of such signals is found to be $\nu_{\rm orb}$-periodic over a compact frequency range, where $\nu_{\rm orb}$ denotes orbital frequency. Subsequently, we consider a wide range of binary systems with circular orbits and short orbital periods, and present a Partial Coherence Recovery Technique for searching for binary millisecond X-ray and radio pulsars. We use numerical simulations to investigate the detectability of pulsars in such systems with $P_{\rm orb} \la 6$ hours, using this technique and three widely used pulsar search methods. These simulations demonstrate that the Partial Coherence Recovery Technique is on average several times more sensitive at detecting pulsars in close binary systems when the data span is more than 2 orbital periods. The systems one may find using such a method can be used to improve the constraints on the coalescence rate of compact objects and they also represent those systems most likely to be detected with gravitational wave detectors such as LISA.

Key words: methods: data analysis -- methods: numerical -- stars: neutron -- pulsars: general

Offprint request: R. Ramachandran, ramach@astro.uva.nl

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