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:

SPECTRA AND LIGHT CURVES

Mikhail V. Medvedev

1

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045

and

Davide Lazzati, Brian C. Morsony, and Jared C. Workman

JILA, University of Colorado, Campus Box 440, Boulder, CO 80309-0440

Received 2007 March 9; accepted 2007 June 6

ABSTRACT

The standard model of gamma-ray burst afterglows assumes that the radiation observed as a delayed emission is

of synchrotron origin, which requires the shock magnetic ﬁeld to be relatively homogeneous on small scales. An

alternative mechanism—jitter radiation, which traditionally has been applied to the prompt emission—substitutes

for synchrotron when the magnetic ﬁeld is tangled on a microscopic scale. Such are the ﬁelds produced at relativistic

shocks by the Weibel instability. Here we explore the possibility that small-scale ﬁelds populate afterglowshocks. We

derive the spectrumof jitter radiation under the afterglowconditions. We also derive the afterglowlight curves for the

interstellar mediumand wind proﬁles of the ambient density. Jitter self-absorption is calculated here for the ﬁrst time.

We ﬁnd that jitter radiation can produce afterglows similar to synchrotron-generated ones, but with some important

differences. We compare the predictions of the two emission mechanisms. With future observational data, one may be

able to discriminate between the synchrotron and jitter afterglow light curves, and, hence, between the small-scale

versus large-scale magnetic ﬁeld models in afterglow shocks.

Subject headinqs: gamma rays: bursts — magnetic ﬁelds — shock waves

1. INTRODUCTION

The general framework for the interpretation of the long-

wavelength radiation of gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglows is

the external shock synchrotron model ( Meszaros & Rees 1997;

Waxman 1997; Piran 1999). In that scenario, a blast wave is

generated by the interaction of the GRB ejecta with the inter-

stellar medium ( ISM). At the shock front, electrons are accel-

erated in a power-lawdistribution with energy (or with Lorentz

factor ¸), and a strong magnetic ﬁeld is generated by some

mechanism. The model assumes that the magnetic ﬁeld is co-

herent on the Larmor scale of the emitting electron, hence al-

lowing for synchrotron emission. Both the relativistic electron

population and the magnetic ﬁeld are originally thought to share

a sizable fraction of ~10% of the internal energy of the blast

wave; those fractions are being called c

e

and c

B

, respectively.

Afterglow spectral ﬁts yield typical values, c

e

~ 0.1Y0.01 and

c

B

~ 0.01Y0.0001, with relatively large scatter (Panaitescu &

Kumar 2001; Panaitescu 2005).

No mechanism or instability capable of generating a sub-

equipartition magnetic ﬁeld in GRBs has been identiﬁed for a

while, until Medvedev & Loeb (1999) suggested that the ﬁeld

can be generated through the Weibel instability. This prediction

has been extended to nonrelativistic shocks, e.g., in supernovae

and galaxy clusters ( Medvedev et al. 2006), and conﬁrmed via

numerical particle-in-cell simulations (Silva et al. 2003; Nishikawa

et al. 2003; Frederiksen et al. 2004; Medvedev et al. 2005;

Spitkovsky 2005; Chang et al. 2007). The volume-averaged

value of c

B

deduced from the simulation is indeed ~0.01Y

0.0001 (depending on the location with respect to the main

shock compression). An intriguing relation,

c

e

’ c

1,2

B

. (1)

recently found by Medvedev (2006b) can allow one to reduce

the number of ﬁt parameters in afterglow studies.

We emphasize here that we do not address the question of

whether the small-scale Weibel-generated ﬁelds can survive far

downstream, through distances many orders of magnitude larger

than the ﬁeld coherence length. Instead, we develop a framework

that will allow us to explore this possibility for GRB afterglow

shocks using future observational data.

Weibel-generated ﬁelds have a very short coherence length

scale (smaller than 1/¸

2

times the electron Larmor radius), and

standard synchrotron equations cannot be adopted. The theory of

jitter radiation has been proposed by Medvedev (2000) and fur-

ther developed in subsequent works (Medvedev 2006a; Fleishman

2006).

Unlike synchrotron, jitter radiation is sensitive to the statis-

tical properties of the magnetic ﬁeld in the shock, that is, to the

spectrum of magnetic ﬂuctuations, and not just to its ‘‘global

property’’—the strength (Medvedev 2000). In addition, the spec-

trum of jitter radiation depends on the shock viewing angle, i.e.,

the angle 0

/

between the shock velocity (propagation direction)

and the line of sight (0

/

is measured in the shock comoving frame).

The two extreme cases are characterized by the emissivity func-

tion being a power law at frequencies below the spectral peak,

P(.) · .

c

. (2)

with c = 1 for 0

/

= 0—a shock viewed face-on (this is also the

case of the ‘‘effective’’ one-dimensional magnetic turbulence

considered in Medvedev 2000)—and c = 0 for 0

/

= ¬/2—an

edge-on shock (this is also the case in isotropic two- and three-

dimensional turbulence). These asymptotes, along with a gen-

eral case of 0 _ 0

/

_ ¬/2, are considered elsewhere ( Medvedev

2006a; Workman et al. 2007). These works also support an

early prediction ( Medvedev 2000) of hard spectra, F

i

· i

1

in

GRBs, in contrast to some recent claims ( Fleishman 2006; but

1

Also at: Institute for Nuclear Fusion, Russian Research Center Kurchatov

Institute, Moscow 123182, Russia.

339

The Astrophysical Journal, 666:339Y345, 2007 September 1

# 2007. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Printed in U.S.A.

see Medvedev 2005). For reference, synchrotron radiation has

c = 1/3 at low energies.

Let us ﬁrst consider a spherical outﬂow. Most of the radiation

observed from a relativistic external shock is beamed within a

cone with the opening angle 0

0

~ 1/À

sh

around the line of sight.

However, the photons emitted from the shock along the line of

sight, 0 ~0, have shorter light travel time to the observer than

those from the limb, 0 ~ 0

0

. Therefore, in order to be observed

simultaneously with the limb photons, the line-of-sight photons

must be emitted later, that is, when the shock radius is larger and

the shock Lorentz factor is proportionally smaller. Hence, the

line-of-sight emission is intrinsically dimmer than the limb

(Granot et al. 1999). Because of relativistic aberration, the pho-

tons emitted from the limb, at 0 ~ 0

0

~ 1/ À

sh

with respect to the

line of sight in the lab (observer’s) frame, have been emitted at

angle 0

/

in the shock comoving frame,

cos 0

/

=

cos (1,À

sh

) ÷u

sh

1 ÷u

sh

cos (1,À

sh

)

= 0. (3)

where u

sh

is the dimensionless shock speed. That is, these pho-

tons are emitted at the angle 0

/

= 90

·

away from the shock

normal. Thus, a shock is essentially seen ‘‘edge-on’’ in the co-

moving frame and c ~0 in this case.

Now, consider a jetted outﬂowwith the jet opening angle 0

jet

.

For the early afterglow, before the jet break, 0

jet

0

0

~1/ À

sh

,

the afterglow is essentially indistinguishable from the spherical

ejecta, hence c ~ 0. After the jet break, 0

jet

< 0

0

, the emission

is still limb-brightened, but most of the emission is coming from

angles 0 ~ 0

jet

< 0

0

, which corresponds to the comoving 0

/

<

90

·

, thus 0Pc P1 is expected. Even later, when the ejecta

becomes weakly relativistic, À

sh

~ few, emission comes from

0 ~0

jet

T0

0

; therefore, the comoving angle is approaching

zero, 0

/

~0, for which a hard spectrum with c ~1 is expected.

At last, at very late times, when the external shock becomes non-

relativistic, À

sh

~1, sideways expansion of the ejecta makes the

external shock nearly spherical. Emission is nearly uniformacross

such a nonrelativistic shock, so that the overall spectrum is a con-

volution of individual ones from different patches, hence we ex-

pect 0 Pc P1.

In fact, jitter radiation is anisotropic (depends on 0

/

) and for

intermediate angles 0 < 0

/

< ¬/2 it cannot be characterized by

a single power law at low energies, below the peak. There is

a break i

b

(0

/

) in the jitter spectrum ( Medvedev 2006a) below

the jitter peak, i

b

< i

jp

, such that c = 1 above the break (at

i

b

< i < i

jp

) and c = 0 below it (at i < i

b

). The dependence

of the break frequency on 0

/

is not easy to parameterize. Since

the break is quite smooth, it is also not easy to establish its

precise position. One characteristic point is i

b

~ 0.01i

jp

at

0

/

= ¬/10 = 18

·

.

To summarize, for spherical outﬂows and for jets seen before

the jet break, the reasonable approximation will be the ‘‘edge-

on’’ shock, with c = 0. At later times, especially when the jet

becomes weakly relativistic, the ‘‘face-on’’ case with c = 1

should be a better approximation. Finally, for a nonrelativistic

external shock, 0Pc P1.

We have one cautious remark. The above consideration as-

sumes strong anisotropy of the magnetic turbulence in the shock

( Medvedev & Loeb 1999), which is likely true in the internal

shocks. We do not understand well the properties of magnetic

turbulence far downstream the external shock. If the magnetic

turbulence will become nearly isotropic, then a three-dimensional

jitter regime gives c = 0, independent of the viewing angle.

Below, we consider both the c = 0 and 1 cases in calculating

the jitter self-absorption frequency. This paper is organized as

follows. In ¸ 2 we summarize the shock kinematics, in ¸ 3 we

derive the jitter self-absorption frequency in various regimes,

while in ¸ 4 we compute all the observable properties of the

spectrum. We summarize and discuss our results in ¸ 5.

2. SHOCK KINEMATICS

Here we summarize, for future use, the kinematic relations

of several blast wave parameters. For a highly relativistic blast

wave with Lorentz factor À

sh

, the density jump condition relates

the preshock ISM density to the density downstream, n

/

, mea-

sured in the shock frame,

n

/

’ 4À

sh

n

ISM

. (4)

The magnetic ﬁeld strength downstream

B

/

= 32¬À

2

sh

n

ISM

m

p

c

2

c

B

À Á

1,2

. (5)

where c

B

is the magnetic ﬁeld equipartition parameter. The min-

imum Lorentz factor of the accelerated electrons, which share a

fraction c

e

< 1 of the total energy of the shock (outﬂow), is

¸

m

=

s ÷2

s ÷1

m

p

m

e

c

e

À

sh

~ 6.12 ; 10

2

c

e

À

sh

. (6)

Here the last expression is calculated for a typical electron power-

lawindex s = 2.5 (see deﬁnition belowin eq. [12]). We have two

models.

Constant density ISM model.—The radius and Lorentz factor

of a blast wave propagating in a constant density ISM depend

on the observed time as (Granot et al. 1999)

À

sh

~ 3.65

E

52

n

ISM.0

1,8

t

days

1 ÷z

÷3,8

. (7)

R ~ 5.53 ; 10

17

E

52

t

days

n

ISM.0

(1 ÷z)

!

1,4

cm. (8)

where E

52

= E

explosion

/ 10

52

ergs ( ) and n

ISM.0

= n

ISM

/(1 cm

÷3

).

Wind model.—If the blast wave is propagating in the wind

environment with the density decreasing with distance, n · r

÷2

,

the Lorentz factor and the radius of the blast wave are (Chevalier

& Li 2000)

À

sh

~ 4.96E

1,2

52

A

+

t

days

1 ÷z

÷1,4

. (9)

R ~ 1.56 ; 10

17

E

52

t

days

A

+

(1 ÷z)

!

1,2

cm. (10)

Here the wind parameter A

+

= [

˙

M

w

/(10

÷5

M

¸

yr

÷1

)[/

[V

w

/(10

3

km s

÷1

)[, where

˙

M

w

is the mass loss rate and V

w

is the

wind velocity. Since the ambient density is no longer constant,

one needs to substitute n

ISM

with the wind density

n

wind

= AR

÷2

~ (3.00 ; 10

35

A

+

cm

÷1

) R

÷2

. (11)

3. THEORY

Here we work in the shock comoving frame. Thus, all the fre-

quencies are expressed in this frame. In addition, all the shock

MEDVEDEV ET AL. 340 Vol. 666

parameters, such as the particle number density n

/

and magnetic

ﬁeld B

/

, are those in the shocked region and are measured in the

comoving frame as well, unless stated otherwise. We use a prime

to denote quantities measured in the shock frame. Sometimes we

omit the prime when this does not cause any confusion.

We introduce the accelerated electron distribution function

N(¸) = (s ÷1) N

e

¸

s÷1

m

¸

÷s

. ¸ _ ¸

m

. (12)

where s is the power-law index, ¸

m

is the minimum Lorentz

factor (low-energy cutoff ), N

e

= 4¬R

2

Á

/

n

ISM

is the total num-

ber of nonthermal (emitting) electrons, R is the radius of the

blast wave, Á

/

is its thickness, and n

ISM

is the number density of

the electrons in the ambient medium.

The absorption coefﬁcient at comoving frequency i

/

is (Dermer

et al. 2000)

i

i

/ =

1

8¬m

e

V

bw

i

/ 2

Z

·

1

d¸ P i

/

. ¸ ( )¸

2

0

0¸

N(¸)

¸

2

!

. (13)

where V

bw

= 4¬r

2

Á

/

is the volume of the blast wave of the

comoving thickness Á

/

and P(i

/

. ¸) is the emissivity function.

Straightforwardly,

¸

2

0

0¸

N(¸)

¸

2

!

= ÷(s ÷2)(s ÷1)N

e

¸

s÷1

m

¸

÷s÷1

. (14)

3.1. Emissivity Functions

We ﬁrst discuss synchrotron, for reference. The synchrotron

comoving peak frequency is at

i

/

s

= (3,2)i

B

¸

2

. (15)

where i

B

= eB

/

/ 2¬m

e

c ( ) is the cyclotron ( Larmor) frequency

in a homogeneous magnetic ﬁeld of strength B

/

and the pitch

angle is assumed to be ¬/2, for simplicity. At i

/

Ti

/

s

, the syn-

chrotron emissivity is

P

synch

(i

/

. ¸) ’

e

2

c

ﬃﬃﬃ

3

_

i

B

4¬

ﬃﬃﬃ

3

_

À(1,3)

i

/

3i

B

¸

2

1,3

" #

. (16)

where À(1/3) ’ 2.68 is a gamma function. This regime of emis-

sion occurs when the magnetic ﬁeld coherence length is much

larger than the gyroradius of the emitting particles.

We now consider emission from magnetic ﬁelds of the same

energy density, but whose coherence length is much smaller than

the electron’s gyroradius, that is, ¸

˜

B

/

) = 0 and ¸

˜

B

/2

) ,= 0 and in

equation (5) one substitutes B

/

with ¸

˜

B

/2

)

1/2

. The jitter peak

frequency is determined by the magnetic ﬁeld spectrum in the

postshock medium. Recent numerical simulations ( Frederiksen

et al. 2004; Medvedev et al. 2006) demonstrate that the ﬁeld

generation by both the electrons and the protons occurs well

before the main shock compression. The wavevector of the fast-

est growing mode of the Weibel instability in the linear regime is

( Medvedev & Loeb 1999)

k

W

~ (.

p.e

,c) ¯ ¸

÷1,2

e

. (17)

where .

p.e

= 4¬e

2

n/m

e

( )

1/2

~ 5.64 ; 10

4

n

1/2

s

÷1

is the plasma

frequency. Here we omitted a factor 2

÷1/4

, which is nearly

unity. Because .

p.e

is a Lorentz invariant, k

W

is determined by

the parameters of the ambient, unshocked medium alone. Thus,

the density n = n

ISM

is the ambient medium density, and the

mean Lorentz factor of the electrons in the ambient medium,

¯ ¸

e

, is close to unity (the ISM is cold and nonrelativistic). The

shock compression and the proton thermalization occur far down-

stream, signiﬁcantly behind the region where the ﬁeld has been

generated. Therefore, the correlation length of the ﬁeld decreases

(primarily in the parallel direction) because of the compression.

Hence, the characteristic wavevector of the downstream random

ﬁelds is

k

rand

’ (4À

sh

) k

W

. (18)

Numerical simulations also indicate that the correlation scale of the

ﬁeld k

B

= 2¬/k

rand

varies with distance from the shock front be-

cause of the highly nonlinear dynamics of the Weibel-generated

currents and ﬁelds (Frederiksen et al. 2004; Medvedev et al. 2005;

Chang et al. 2007). We therefore parameterize this as

k

rand

= j(.

p.e

,c). (19)

where the parameter j incorporates all relativistic effects, the

shock compression, and the nonlinear evolution of the Weibel

turbulence. Hereafter, we use

j ’(4À

sh

) ¯ ¸

÷1,2

e

’ 4À

sh

. (20)

where we assumed that ¯ ¸

e

~1.

The characteristic frequency of the electron’s jitter while it

moves at roughly the speed of light through these magnetic ﬁelds

is i ~ c/k

B

. More precisely,

i

r

= k

rand

c,2¬ = j.

p.e

,2¬ = ji

p. ISM

. (21)

where we introduced the plasma frequency of the ISM, i

p. ISM

=

(4¬e

2

n

ISM

/m

e

)

1/2

/2¬ = 8.98 ; 10

3

n

1/2

ISM

Hz.

The peak of the emitted jitter radiation is i

/

j

~ i

r

¸

2

, but its

exact position slightly depends on the magnetic ﬁeld spectrum,

deﬁned as (B

/2

)

k

· k

2j

. The magnetic spectrum affects the ob-

served radiation spectrum at frequencies above the peak fre-

quency. For monoenergetic electrons, F

i

· i

2j

for the ‘‘face-on’’

(0

/

~ 0) and F

i

· i

2j÷1

for the ‘‘edge-on’’ (0

/

~¬/2) case

( Medvedev 2006a). Thus, for sufﬁciently small [j[, j < 0, the

spectral index of radiation could be determined by the mag-

netic ﬁeld, rather than by the electron distribution index s.

Simulations of electron-proton plasmas by Frederiksen et al.

(2004) show that j ~÷2 in the foreshock region, whereas it

seems to be exponentially decaying at very short wavelengths

k k.

p

/c, as is indicated by electron-positron simulations of the

shock downstream (Chang et al. 2007). Unlike Frederiksen

et al. (2004) however, larger scales, kT.

p

/c, are poorly resolved

in Chang et al. (2007), so it is premature to make any conclu-

sions about the actual value of j in the downstreamregion. The

foreshock emission is likely relevant to the prompt emission, for

which we get F

i

· i

÷4

and · i

÷3

for 0

/

~ 0 and ~¬/2, re-

spectively, provided ÷(s ÷1)/2 2j ÷1. This requires a rather

steep electron spectrum with s 4[j[ ÷1 ~ 7. Fermi acceler-

ation yields s ~2.2, at least for afterglows. Thus, the electron

distribution is likely to determine the spectral slope, and one can

safely assume [j[ 31. This greatly simpliﬁes further calculations.

JITTER RADIATION AND GRB AFTERGLOWS 341 No. 1, 2007

For steep spectra, [j[ 31, the peak is at, roughly, twice the

jitter frequency,

i

/

j

’ 2i

r

¸

2

. (22)

The jitter and synchrotron peak frequencies in the magnetic

ﬁelds of identical strengths are related to each other via the

identities

i

r

= i

B

,c and i

/

j

= i

/

s

,(3c,4). (23)

These identities deﬁne the parameter c P1, which is the ratio

of the deﬂection angle of the particle path in chaotic ﬁelds to

the beaming angle 1/¸ ( Medvedev 2000). It is expressed via the

magnetic ﬁeld equipartition parameter in the shock, c

B

, as

c =

m

p

m

e

8À

sh

j

2

c

B

1,2

’

m

p

m

e

c

B

1,2

~ 43

ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

c

B

_

. (24)

The jitter emissivity function below the peak is

P

jitter

(i

/

. ¸) ’

e

2

c

¬f (j)c

2

i

r

i

/

2i

r

¸

2

c

. (25)

Later on, we neglected a factor f (j) = (2j ÷1)/(2j ÷1) (cal-

culated for c = 1), because it is of order unity when [j[ 31.

Thus, for both emission mechanisms,

P(i

/

. ¸) ’ a

i

/

b¸

2

c

. (26)

Here, for synchrotron

a =

e

2

c

4¬

À(1,3)

i

B

. b = 3i

B

. c = 1,3. (27)

and for jitter

a =

e

2

2c

¬c

2

i

r

. b = i

r

. c = 0 or 1. (28)

3.2. Self-Absorption Frequencies for i

a

< i

m

Here we assume that the self-absorption frequency is below

the jitter peak in the spectrumfromthe ensemble of the electrons,

i

/

a

Pi

/

m

= 2i

j. m

= 2i

r

¸

2

m

. The self-absorption coefﬁcient is eas-

ily calculated from equations (14) and (26) to yield

i

i

/ =

(s ÷2)(s ÷1)N

e

ab

÷c

(i

/

)

c÷2

8¬m

e

V

bw

(s ÷2c)¸

2c÷1

m

. (29)

The self-absorption frequency is that at which the optical

thickness of the blast wave shell is unity,

i

i

/

a

Á

/

~1. (30)

This condition gives

i

/ 2÷c

a

’

(s ÷2)(s ÷1)

(s ÷2c)

Rn

ISM

ab

÷c

24¬m

e

¸

2c÷1

m

. (31)

This equation works for both synchrotron and jitter radiation.

One just need to replace the general parameters a, b, and c with

those above, for a process of interest.

For jitter radiation, we have

ab

÷c

=

e

2

c

¬

2

c

c

2

i

1÷c

r

. (32)

Therefore,

i

/ 2÷c

a

’

(s ÷2)(s ÷1)

(s ÷2c)

¬

24

(R,c)i

2

p. ISM

i

1÷c

r

c

2

¸

2c÷1

m

. (33)

In the case of c = 0,

i

/

a

’

¬

24

(s ÷2)(s ÷1)

s

!

1,2

(R,c)

1,2

i

p. ISM

i

1,2

r

c

¸

1,2

m

~ 2.9 Hz R

1,2

n

3,4

ISM

¸

÷1,2

m

j

1,2

c.

~ 5.4 Hz R

1,2

n

3,4

ISM

¸

÷1,2

m

À

1,2

sh

c. (34)

Hereafter, we use a typical value, s = 2.5, in numerical estimates.

The case of c = 1 may be relevant to the late afterglow from

a jet. We have

i

/

a

’ (s ÷1)

¬

24

(R,c)i

2

p. ISM

c

2

¸

3

m

~5.3 ; 10

÷4

Hz Rn

ISM

¸

÷3

m

c

2

. (35)

3.3. Self-Absorption Frequency for i

a

i

m

In order to calculate the self-absorption frequency in this re-

gime, we need the full expression for the emissivity function

P(i

/

. ¸) =

e

2

2c

c2¬i

r

J

i

/

i

r

¸

2

. (36)

where the function J(¸) for [j[ 31 and cT1 is

J(¸) = (2j ÷1)¸

2j

I(2) ÷I(¸) [ [. (37)

I(¸) = ÷

¸

÷2j÷1

2j ÷1

÷

¸

÷2j÷2

2j ÷2

÷

1

2

¸

÷2j÷3

2j ÷3

. (38)

This function corresponds to the c = 1 case. The expression for

the c = 0 case is more complicated. Our analysis indicates,

however, that the jitter emissivity function is approximated by a

sharply broken power law very well (much better than the syn-

chrotron one does). Therefore, we use the approximate expres-

sion for J(¸), which describes well the c = 1 and 0 spectra. We

use

J(¸) =

¸

c

. ¸ < 2.

0. ¸ _ 2.

&

(39)

This function mimics a power-lawspectrumup to the peak jitter

frequency i

j

’ 2i

r

¸

2

, with the sharp cutoff above it.

MEDVEDEV ET AL. 342 Vol. 666

The self-absorption coefﬁcient is

i

i

/ =

(s ÷2)(s ÷1)N

e

¸

s÷1

m

8¬m

e

V

bw

i

/ 2

e

2

2c

; c2¬i

r

Z

·

¸

m

J

i

/

i

r

¸

2

¸

÷s÷1

d¸. (40)

Upon substitution of J(¸), the integral becomes

1

2

i

i

r

÷s,2

Z

min i

/

,(i

r

¸

2

m

).2 [ [

0

z

c÷s,2÷1

dz. (41)

We are interested in the high-energy part of the spectrum, above

i

/

3i

/

m

’ 2i

r

¸

2

m

. Therefore, the upper limit in the integral is

equal to 2. Thus, we have for the opacity at frequencies above

the spectral peak

i

i

/ =

(s ÷2)(s ÷1)

(s ÷2c)

2

s,2÷c÷3

12¬

(R,c).

2

p.e. ISM

Á

/

¸

3

m

c

2

i

/

m

i

/

i

/

m

÷s,2÷2

.

(42)

Since F

i

· i

5

,

2

for i

m

< i < i

a

, rather than · i

2

, the absorp-

tion frequency should be deﬁned as the frequency at which

dF

i

/di = 0, where F

i

· i

5

,

2

(1 ÷e

÷i

i

/ Á

/

). For a simple esti-

mate, we can still use the condition i

i

/

a

Á

/

’ 1. We have

i

/

a

’ 2

s,2÷c÷3

¬

3

(s ÷2)(s ÷1)

(s ÷2c)

!

2,(s÷4)

;

(R,c)i

2

p.ISM

i

/s,2÷1

m

c

2

¸

3

m

" #

2,(s÷4)

. (43)

The peak frequency i

/

m

is calculated in ¸ 3.4 (eq. [45]). To

proceed further, we again use the typical value of the electron

power-law exponent, s = 2.5. For such s, the value of the nu-

merical factor (the ﬁrst term) in equation (43) is equal to 0.95

and 0.99 for c = 0 and 1, respectively. We, therefore use the

representative value of 0.97 for both cases, which gives an error

in the i

/

a

value to within a couple of percents. Thus,

i

/

a

~ 320 Hz R

0.31

n

0.65

ISM

À

0.69

sh

¸

0.46

m

c

0.62

. (44)

3.4. Peak Frequency

The peak frequency of the shock spectrum (from an ensemble

of electrons) is determined by the jitter frequency at ¸

m

,

i

/

m

’ 2i

r

¸

2

m

~ 1.8 ; 10

4

Hz n

1,2

ISM

¸

2

m

j

~ 7.2 ; 10

4

Hz n

1,2

ISM

À

sh

¸

2

m

. (45)

3.5. Coolinq Break Frequency

The total (integrated over frequencies) emitted power by

an electron is identical in the jitter and synchrotron regimes

( Medvedev 2000). Thus, the cooling break is unchanged. We

quote results from Sari et al. (1998),

i

/

c

= (3,2)i

B

¸

2

c

. (46)

where the cooling Lorentz factor (neglecting Compton losses)

is

¸

c

=

3m

e

16m

p

co

T

c

B

1

n

ISM

À

sh

t

loc

(47)

where t

loc

= t/(1 ÷z) is the cosmologically local time for a GRB.

Thus,

i

/

c

~ 4.3 ; 10

24

Hz n

÷3,2

ISM

À

÷5

sh

c

÷3,2

B

t

÷2

loc

. (48)

4. OBSERVABLES

The power-lawsegments in the i

a

< i

m

and i

a

i

m

regimes

are, respectively,

F

(i

a

<i

m

)

i

·

i

2

. i < i

a

.

i

c

. i

a

< i < i

m

.

i

÷(s÷1),2

. i

m

< i < i

c

.

i

÷s,2

. i

c

< i.

8

>

>

>

<

>

>

>

:

(49)

F

(i

a

i

m

)

i

·

i

2

. i < i

m

.

i

5,2

. i

m

< i < i

a

.

i

÷(s÷1)

,

2

. i

a

< i < i

c

.

i

÷s,2

. i

c

< i.

8

>

>

>

<

>

>

>

:

(50)

We now calculate the frequencies in the observer’s frame

[thus, all frequencies are boosted by À

sh

/(1 ÷z)] and their de-

pendencies on the burst parameters for s = 2.5. For the ISM

model of external medium, we have

i

(c=0)

a

~ 5.9 ; 10

8

Hz (1 ÷z)

÷3,4

E

1,4

52

c

÷1,2

e

c n

1,2

ISM.0

t

÷1,4

days

. (51)

i

(c=1)

a

~ 9.6 ; 10

4

Hz (1 ÷z)

÷2

E

0

52

c

÷3

e

c

2

n

ISM.0

t

days

. (52)

i

(i

m

)

a

~ 3.1 ; 10

10

Hz (1 ÷z)

÷0.27

; E

0.35

52

c

0.46

e

c

0.62

n

0.30

ISM.0

t

÷0.73

days

. (53)

i

m

~ 4.8 ; 10

12

Hz (1 ÷z)

1,2

E

1,2

52

c

2

e

t

÷3,2

days

. (54)

i

c

~ 8.5 ; 10

16

Hz (1 ÷z)

÷1,2

E

÷1,2

52

c

÷3,2

B.÷3

n

÷1

ISM.0

t

÷1,2

days

. (55)

Here we also quoted the result from Sari et al. (1998) for the

cooling frequency in the adiabatic regime of blast wave evolu-

tion in the constant ISM density environment, corrected for the

redshift.

Finally, we compute the peak ﬂux of jitter afterglows by us-

ing the relation F

i. max

= c

2

F

i. max. synch

i

m

/i

m. synch

and the syn-

chrotron peak ﬂux from Sari et al. (1998),

F

i. max. synch

=10

3

E

52

c

B.÷3

n

ISM.0

D

÷2

28

jJy. (56)

We remind that the jitter deﬂection parameter is related to the

magnetic ﬁeld equipartition parameter as

c ~ 43c

1,2

B

~1.3c

1,2

B.÷3

. (57)

Figure 1 shows the jitter and synchrotron spectra for an after-

glow with E =10

53

ergs, c

e

= 0.1, c

B

= 0.0001, n

ISM

=1, and

s = 2.5, computed at t = 0.1, 1, and 10 days.

JITTER RADIATION AND GRB AFTERGLOWS 343 No. 1, 2007

For the wind model of external medium, the frequencies in

the observer’s frame are

i

(c=0)

a

~ 2.8 ; 10

9

Hz (1 ÷z)

÷1,4

E

0

52

c

÷1,2

e

c A

+

t

÷3,4

days

. (58)

i

(c=1)

a

~ 1.8 ; 10

5

Hz (1 ÷z)

÷1

E

÷3,2

52

c

÷3

e

c

2

A

2

+

t

0

days

. (59)

i

(i

m

)

a

~ 1.4 ; 10

11

Hz (1 ÷z)

0.04

E

0.58

52

c

0.46

e

c

0.62

A

0.62

+

t

÷1.04

days

.

(60)

i

m

~ 2.9 ; 10

13

Hz (1 ÷z)

1,2

E

3,2

52

c

2

e

t

÷3,2

days

. (61)

i

c

~ 5.7 ; 10

15

Hz (1 ÷z)

÷3,2

E

1,2

52

c

3,2

B.÷3

A

÷2

+

t

1,2

days

. (62)

Here we also quoted the result from Chevalier & Li (2000) for

the cooling frequency in the adiabatic regime of blast wave

evolution in the wind environment.

5. DISCUSSION

We considered in this work the properties of GRB afterglows

with radiation produced by jitter radiation instead of synchro-

tron. For the ﬁrst time we evaluate the self-absorption frequency

in various regimes and for blast waves propagating in different

ambient media.

Within the present framework, we analyzed two possible

regimes of the jitter mechanism, c = 0 and 1. If the postshock

magnetic turbulence is isotropic (which is very likely in the far

downstream region), then c = 0. If the turbulence remains an-

isotropic throughout the shell, then two possibilities arise. First,

for a spherical outﬂow and a jetted outﬂow observed before the

jet break, one has c = 0. Second, for late times, long after the jet

break, one can expect c 0 and even c ~ 1. Since the prop-

erties of turbulence likely vary downstream as a function of the

distance from the shock front, it is likely that one can have an

intermediate regime for most of the time, 0 Pc P1.

Note that in the jitter regime, the peak frequency is indepen-

dent of the magnetic ﬁeld strength. In general, it depends on the

ambient density. However, for the assumed parameter j · À

sh

,

which incorporates all details (not so well known) of the mag-

netic ﬁeld evolution far downstream, the jitter peak is indepen-

dent of the density, either n

ISM

or A

+

. Note also that the jitter

self-absorption frequencies and the peak frequency strongly de-

pend on the electron equipartition parameter. It may be helpful

to remember that the jitter peak frequency is higher than the syn-

chrotron peak frequency in the ﬁeld of the same strength (same

c

B

) and the same electron energy distribution (same c

e

and elec-

tron index s) by a factor ~c

÷1

, which, in turn, is · c

1/2

B

.

Finally, we estimate the times when the emission becomes

optically thick, i

a

~i

m

for c = 0 and 1, for the ISM case,

t

(c=0)

a

~ 1300 days (1 ÷z)E

1,5

52

c

2

e

c

÷4,5

n

÷2,5

ISM.0

. (63)

t

(c=1)

a

~ 1200 days (1 ÷z)E

1,5

52

c

2

e

c

÷4,5

n

÷2,5

ISM.0

. (64)

t

(i

m

<i

a

)

a

~ 690 days (1 ÷z)E

0.20

52

c

2.00

e

c

÷0.80

n

0.40

ISM.0

. (65)

Ideally, these times should coincide. The discrepancies are due

to the approximations made in our analysis. In particular, the

self-absorption frequency for i

m

< i

a

is overestimated by a fac-

tor of 2 (as is explained above); hence, the thin-to-thick transi-

tion time is earlier. A more detailed treatment of the self-ab-

sorption frequencies will be presented elsewhere ( Workman et

al. 2007; B. C. Morsony et al. 2007, in preparation). In addition,

the time when the cooling break is equal to the jitter peak,

i

c

~ i

m

, is

t

c

~ 5.6 ; 10

÷5

days (1 ÷z)E

52

c

2

e

c

3,2

B.÷3

n

ISM.0

. (66)

The numerical factor in the above equation is equal to 4.9 s.

Similarly, we calculate different values for t

a

and t

c

for the

wind case,

t

(c=0)

a

~ 2.3 ; 10

5

days (1 ÷z)E

2

52

c

10,3

e

c

÷4,3

A

÷4,3

+

. (67)

t

(c=1)

a

~ 3.0 ; 10

5

days (1 ÷z)E

2

52

c

10,3

e

c

÷4,3

A

÷4,3

+

. (68)

t

(i

m

<i

a

)

a

~ 1.1 ; 10

5

days (1 ÷z)E

2.00

52

c

÷3.35

e

c

÷1.34

A

÷1.34

+

. (69)

t

c

~6.5 ; 10

÷2

days (1 ÷z)E

1,2

52

c

e

c

÷3,4

B.÷3

A

+

. (70)

The discrepancies in the values of t

a

are, again, due to the ap-

proximations made in calculating i

a

.

Figure 1 allows us to comment on the differences between

synchrotron and jitter afterglows. The high-energy part of the

spectrum (mainly the optical and X-ray regimes) are hardly

distinguishable between the two mechanisms, especially if,

as expected from simulation, jitter ﬁelds are created such that

c P1. The two main differences are in the low-energy branches,

in the radio band. First, the spectral slope at frequencies below

the peak frequency is not canonical i

1/3

; it is ﬂat, i

0

, at times

before the jet break and can, possibly, be as steep as i

c

, with

c P1, well after the jet break ( but before the shock becomes

nonrelativistic). Second, the location of the self-absorption break

Fig. 1.—Jitter and synchrotron spectra for a typical afterglow running into a

uniform medium. The parameter set is E =10

53

ergs, c

e

= 0.1, c

B

= 0.0001,

n

ISM

= 1, and the electron energy distribution power-law index s = 2.5, com-

puted at t = 0.1, 1, and 10 days. Note that the jitter and synchrotron regimes do

not occur simultaneously. Instead, they correspond to the emission from mag-

netic ﬁelds with the coherence length much smaller and much larger than the

electron gyroradius, respectively.

MEDVEDEV ET AL. 344 Vol. 666

is different and evolves in time differently than in the synchrotron

afterglow scenario.

The best observational strategy can be to perform radio ob-

servations between the self-absorption and peak frequencies,

roughly from GHz to THz sufﬁciently early on, at times smaller

than a day after the burst. The ﬂat spectrum in this frequency

range will indicate the jitter afterglow. Radio observations at

times of about a few days to 10 days are also interesting. The

steeper than synchrotron spectrum i

c

, with c P1, above the

self-absorption range i

2

will not only indicate jitter radiation,

but it will also hint at the presence of highly anisotropic small-

scale magnetic turbulence in the external shock. Unfortunately,

the spectral interval where such an unusual spectrum can exist is

rather narrowat late times, which makes such observations some-

what difﬁcult.

M. M. gratefully acknowledges support from the Institute for

Advanced Study. This work was supported by NASA grants

NNG 04-GM41G ( M. M.) and NNG 06-GI06G ( B. M. and

D. L.), Swift Guest Investigator grant NNX 07-AJ50G ( M. M.)

and NNX 06-AB69G ( B. M. and D. L.), DOE grant DE-FG02-

04ER54790 ( M. M.), and NSF grant AST 03-07502 ( B. M.

and D. L.).

REFERENCES

Chang, P., Spitkovsky, A., & Arons, J. 2007, ApJ, submitted (arXiv:0704.3832)

Chevalier, R. A., & Li, Z.-Y. 2000, ApJ, 536, 195

Dermer, C. D., Bo¨ttcher, M., & Chiang, J. 2000, ApJ, 537, 255

Fleishman, G. 2006, ApJ, 638, 348

Frederiksen, J. T., Hededal, C. B., Haugbølle, T., & Nordlund, 8. 2004, ApJ,

608, L13

Granot, J., Piran, T., & Sari, R. 1999, ApJ, 527, 236

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Medvedev, M. V., & Loeb, A. 1999, ApJ, 526, 697

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JITTER RADIATION AND GRB AFTERGLOWS 345 No. 1, 2007

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