Electric field screening by a proton counterflow in the pulsar polar cap
Division of Theoretical Astronomy, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, 2-21-1 Osawa Mitaka Tokyo, Japan e-mail: email@example.com
2 Department of Earth and Space Science, Osaka University, Toyonaka 560-0043, Japan e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 2 August 2004
We propose a new mechanism to screen the electric field in the pulsar polar cap. Previous studies have shown that if an electron beam from the stellar surface is accelerated to energies high enough to create electron-positron pairs, the required electric field parallel to the magnetic field lines is too strong to be screened out by the produced pairs. We argue here that if non-relativistic protons are supplied from the magnetosphere to flow towards the stellar surface, they can provide an anode to screen out such a strong electric field. Injected electron-positron pairs yield an asymmetry of the electrostatic potential around the screening point. The required pair creation rate in this model is consistent with the conventional models.
Key words: magnetic fields / plasmas / stars: pulsars: general / gamma-rays: theory
© ESO, 2004