The millisecond pulsar contribution to the rising positron fraction
Harding, Alice K.
Gonthier, Peter L.
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Pair cascades from millisecond pulsars (MSPs) may be a primary source of Galactic electrons and positrons that contribute to the increase in positron flux above 10 GeV as observed by PAMELA and AMS−02. The Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) has increased the number of detected γ-ray MSPs tremendously. Light curve modelling furthermore favours abundant pair production in MSP magnetospheres, so that models of primary cosmic-ray positrons from pulsars should include the contribution from the larger numbers of MSPs and their potentially higher positron output per source. We model the contribution of Galactic MSPs to the terrestrial cosmic-ray electron / positron flux by using a population synthesis code to predict the source properties of presentday MSPs. We simulate pair spectra assuming an offset-dipole magnetic field which boosts pair creation rates. We also consider positrons and electrons that have additionally been accelerated to very high energies in the strong intrabinary shocks in black widow (BW) and redback (RB) binary systems. We transport these particles to Earth by calculating their diffusion and the radiative energy losses they suffer in the Galaxy using a model. Our model particle flux increases for nonzero offsets of the magnetic polar caps. We find that pair cascades from MSP magnetospheres contribute only modestly around a few tens of GeV to the measured fluxes. BW and RB fluxes may reach a few tens of percent of the observed flux up to a few TeV. Future observations should constrain the source properties in this case.