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dc.contributor.authorCurran, Peter
dc.contributor.editorJ.M. Paredes, M. Ribó, F.A. Aharonian and G.E. Romero
dc.identifier.citationCurran, Peter A. 2012. Observations of Particle Acceleration in the Blast Waves of Gamma-Ray Bursts, in Paredes, J.M., Ribó, M., Aharonian, F.A. and Romero, G.E. (ed), Proceedings of the Conference on High Energy Phenomena in Relativistic Outflows III (HEPRO III), Jun 27-Jul 1 2011, pp. 235-240. Barcelona, Spain: Universitat de Barcelona.

The electron energy distribution index, p, is a fundamental parameter of the process by which electrons at shock fronts are accelerated to relativistic speeds and by which they radiate, via synchrotron emission. This acceleration process is applicable to a myriad of astronomical jet sources such as AGN, X-ray binaries and gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), as well as to particle acceleration in the solar wind and supernovae, and the acceleration of cosmic rays. The accurate measurement of the distribution of p is of fundamental importance to differentiate between the possible theories of electron acceleration at any relativistic shock front; there is division as to whether p has a universal value or whether it has a distribution, and if so, what that distribution is.Here one such source of synchrotron emission is examined: the blast waves of GRB afterglows observed by the Swift satellite. Within the framework of the GRB blast wave model, the constraints placed on the distribution of p by the observed X-ray spectral and temporal indices are examined and the distribution parametrized. The results show that the observed distribution of spectral indices is inconsistent with an underlying distribution of p composed of a single discrete value but consistent with a Gaussian distribution centred at p = 2.4 and having a width of 0.6. This finding disagrees with theoretical work that argues for a single, universal value of p, but also demonstrates that the width of the distribution is not as wide as has been suggested by some authors.

dc.publisherWorld Scientific Publishing Company
dc.subjectShock waves
dc.subjectRadiation mechanisms: non-thermal
dc.subjectMethods: statistical
dc.subjectGamma-ray burst: general
dc.subjectAcceleration - of particles
dc.titleObservations of Particle Acceleration in the Blast Waves of Gamma-Ray Bursts
dc.typeConference Paper
dcterms.source.titleHigh Energy Phenomena in Relativistic Outflows III (HEPRO III)
dcterms.source.seriesHigh Energy Phenomena in Relativistic Outflows III (HEPRO III)
dcterms.source.conferenceInternational Journal of Modern Physics: Conference Series
dcterms.source.conference-start-dateJun 27 2011
dcterms.source.conferencelocationBarcelona, Spain
dcterms.source.placeUnited Kingdom

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