Efficient electron heating in relativistic shocks and gamma-ray-burst afterglow Academic Article uri icon


  • Electrons in shocks are efficiently energized due to the cross-shock potential, which develops because of differential deflection of electrons and ions by the magnetic field in the shock front. The electron energization is necessarily accompanied by scattering and thermalization. The mechanism is efficient in both magnetized and nonmagnetized relativistic electron-ion shocks. It is proposed that the synchrotron emission from the heated electrons in a layer of strongly enhanced magnetic field is responsible for gamma-ray-burst afterglows.

publication date

  • February 7, 2008