Constraints on the Emission Geometries and Spin Evolution of Gamma-ray Millisecond Pulsars

Abstract : Millisecond pulsars (MSPs) are a growing class of gamma-ray emitters. Pulsed gamma-ray signals have been detected from more than 40 MSPs with the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT). The wider radio beams and more compact magnetospheres of MSPs enable studies of emission geometries over a broader range of phase space than non-recycled radio-loud gamma-ray pulsars. We have modeled the gamma-ray light curves of 40 LAT-detected MSPs using geometric emission models assuming a vacuum retarded-dipole magnetic field. We modeled the radio profiles using a single-altitude hollow-cone beam, with a core component when indicated by polarimetry; however, for MSPs with gamma-ray and radio light curve peaks occurring at nearly the same rotational phase we assume that the radio emission is co-located with the gamma rays and caustic in nature. The best-fit parameters and confidence intervals are determined using a maximum likelihood technique. We divide the light curves into three model classes, with gamma-ray peaks trailing (Class I), aligned (Class II) or leading (Class III) the radio peaks. Outer gap and slot gap (two-pole caustic) models best fit roughly equal numbers of Class I and II, while Class III are exclusively fit with pair-starved polar cap models. Distinguishing between the model classes based on typical derived parameters is difficult. We explore the evolution of magnetic inclination angle with period and spin-down power, finding possible correlations. While the presence of significant off-peak emission can often be used as a discriminator between outer gap and slot gap models, a hybrid model may be needed.
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Astrophysical Journal Supplement, American Astronomical Society, 2014, 213 (1), 〈10.1088/0067-0049/213/1/6〉
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T. J. Johnson, C. Venter, A. K. Harding, Lucas Guillemot, D. A. Smith, et al.. Constraints on the Emission Geometries and Spin Evolution of Gamma-ray Millisecond Pulsars. Astrophysical Journal Supplement, American Astronomical Society, 2014, 213 (1), 〈10.1088/0067-0049/213/1/6〉. 〈insu-01280282〉

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