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Open AccessArticle

High-Energy Polarization: Scientific Potential and Model Predictions

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
Theoretical Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA
Galaxies 2017, 5(3), 32;
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 25 July 2017 / Accepted: 26 July 2017 / Published: 28 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polarised Emission from Astrophysical Jets)
PDF [1598 KB, uploaded 4 August 2017]


Understanding magnetic field strength and morphology is very important for studying astrophysical jets. Polarization signatures have been a standard way to probe the jet magnetic field. Radio and optical polarization monitoring programs have been very successful in studying the space- and time-dependent jet polarization behaviors. A new era is now arriving with high-energy polarimetry. X-ray and γ -ray polarimetry can probe the most active jet regions with the most efficient particle acceleration. This new opportunity will make a strong impact on our current understanding of jet systems. This paper summarizes the scientific potential and current model predictions for X-ray and γ -ray polarization of astrophysical jets. In particular, we discuss the advantages of using high-energy polarimetry to constrain several important problems in the jet physics, including the jet radiation mechanisms, particle acceleration mechanisms, and jet kinetic and magnetic energy composition. Here we take blazars as a study case, but the general approach can be similarly applied to other astrophysical jets. We conclude that by comparing combined magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), particle transport, and polarization-dependent radiation transfer simulations with multi-wavelength time-dependent radiation and polarization observations, we will obtain the strongest constraints and the best knowledge of jet physics. View Full-Text
Keywords: active galaxies; blazars; gamma-ray bursts; radiation mechanisms; polarization; magnetohydrodynamics; particle acceleration active galaxies; blazars; gamma-ray bursts; radiation mechanisms; polarization; magnetohydrodynamics; particle acceleration

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Zhang, H. High-Energy Polarization: Scientific Potential and Model Predictions. Galaxies 2017, 5, 32.

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