X-ray and gamma-ray polarization in leptonic and hadronic jet models of blazars
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We present a theoretical analysis of the expected X-ray and γ-ray polarization signatures resulting from synchrotron self-Compton emission in leptonic models compared to the polarization signatures from proton synchrotron and cascade synchrotron emission in hadronic models for blazars. Source parameters resulting from detailed spectral-energy-distribution modeling are used to calculate photon-energy-dependent upper limits on the degree of polarization, assuming a perfectly organized mono-directional magnetic field. In low-synchrotron-peaked blazars, hadronic models exhibit substantially higher maximum degrees of X-ray and gamma-ray polarization than leptonic models, which may be within reach of existing X-ray and γ-ray polarimeters. In high-synchrotron-peaked blazars (with electron-synchrotron-dominated X-ray emission), leptonic and hadronic models predict the same degree of X-ray polarization but substantially higher maximum γ-ray polarization in hadronic models than leptonic ones. These predictions are particularly relevant in view of the new generation of balloon-borne X-ray polarimeters (and possibly GEMS, if revived), and the ability of Fermi-LAT to measure γ-ray polarization at <200 MeV. We suggest observational strategies combining optical, X-ray, and γ-ray polarimetry to determine the degree of ordering of the magnetic field and to distinguish between leptonic and hadronic high-energy emissions.