Volume 498, Number 3, May II 2009
|677 - 703
|25 March 2009
Prompt high-energy emission from gamma-ray bursts in the internal shock model
Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, UMR 7095 Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6 – CNRS, 98bis boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Institut Universitaire de France, 103 bd Saint-Michel, 75005 Paris, France
3 Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Grenoble, UMR 5571 Université Joseph Fourier – CNRS, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble, France
Accepted: 19 February 2009
Context. Gamma-ray bursts (GRB) are powerful, short duration events with a spectral luminosity peaking in the keV-MeV (BATSE) range. The prompt emission is thought to arise from electrons accelerated in internal shocks propagating within a highly relativistic outflow.
Aims. The launch of Fermi offers the prospect of observations with unprecedented sensitivity in high-energy (HE, >100 MeV) gamma-rays. The aim is to explore the predictions for HE emission from internal shocks, taking into account both dynamical and radiative aspects, and to deduce how HE observations constrain the properties of the relativistic outflow.
Methods. The prompt GRB emission is modelled by combining a time-dependent radiative code, solving for the electron and photon distributions, with a dynamical code giving the evolution of the physical conditions in the shocked regions of the outflow. Synthetic lightcurves and spectra are generated and compared to observations.
Results. The HE emission deviates significantly from analytical estimates, which tend to overpredict the IC component, when the time dependence and full cross-sections are included. The exploration of the parameter space favors the case where the dominant process in the BATSE range is synchrotron emission. The HE component becomes stronger for weaker magnetic fields. The HE lightcurve can display a prolonged pulse duration due to IC emission, or even a delayed peak compared to the BATSE range. Alternatively, having dominant IC emission in the BATSE range requires most electrons to be accelerated into a steep power-law distribution and implies strong second order IC scattering. In this case, the BATSE and HE lightcurves are very similar.
Conclusions. The combined dynamical and radiative approach allows a firm appraisal of GRB HE prompt emission. A diagnostic procedure is presented to identify from observations the dominant emission process and derive constrains on the bulk Lorentz factor, particle density and magnetic field of the outflow.
Key words: gamma rays: bursts / shock waves / radiation mechanisms: non-thermal
© ESO, 2009
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