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Review

GRB Polarization: A Unique Probe of GRB Physics

by 1,2,3,*, 4,* and 3,2,1,*
1
Department of Physics, The George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052, USA
2
Astrophysics Research Center of the Open University (ARCO), The Open University of Israel, P.O. Box 808, Ra’anana 43537, Israel
3
Department of Natural Sciences, The Open University of Israel, P.O. Box 808, Ra’anana 43537, Israel
4
Department of Nuclear and Particle Physics, University of Geneva, 24 Quai Ernest-Ansermet, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Elena Moretti and Francesco Longo
Galaxies 2021, 9(4), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/galaxies9040082
Received: 28 August 2021 / Revised: 14 October 2021 / Accepted: 19 October 2021 / Published: 27 October 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gamma-Ray Burst Science in 2030)
Over half a century from the discovery of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), the dominant radiation mechanism responsible for their bright and highly variable prompt emission remains poorly understood. Spectral information alone has proven insufficient for understanding the composition and main energy dissipation mechanism in GRB jets. High-sensitivity polarimetric observations from upcoming instruments in this decade may help answer such key questions in GRB physics. This article reviews the current status of prompt GRB polarization measurements and provides comprehensive predictions from theoretical models. A concise overview of the fundamental questions in prompt GRB physics is provided. Important developments in gamma-ray polarimetry including a critical overview of different past instruments are presented. Theoretical predictions for different radiation mechanisms and jet structures are confronted with time-integrated and time-resolved measurements. The current status and capabilities of upcoming instruments regarding the prompt emission are presented. The very complimentary information that can be obtained from polarimetry of X-ray flares as well as reverse-shock and early to late forward-shock (afterglow) emissions are highlighted. Finally, promising directions for overcoming the inherent difficulties in obtaining statistically significant prompt-GRB polarization measurements are discussed, along with prospects for improvements in the theoretical modeling, which may lead to significant advances in the field. View Full-Text
Keywords: gamma-ray bursts; polarization; radiation mechanisms; jet structure; instruments & methods gamma-ray bursts; polarization; radiation mechanisms; jet structure; instruments & methods
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gill, R.; Kole, M.; Granot, J. GRB Polarization: A Unique Probe of GRB Physics. Galaxies 2021, 9, 82. https://doi.org/10.3390/galaxies9040082

AMA Style

Gill R, Kole M, Granot J. GRB Polarization: A Unique Probe of GRB Physics. Galaxies. 2021; 9(4):82. https://doi.org/10.3390/galaxies9040082

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gill, Ramandeep, Merlin Kole, and Jonathan Granot. 2021. "GRB Polarization: A Unique Probe of GRB Physics" Galaxies 9, no. 4: 82. https://doi.org/10.3390/galaxies9040082

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