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Physics  2014 

Magnetic braking of Ap/Bp stars: an alternative formation mechanism of compact intermediate-mass binary pulsars

DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stu823

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Abstract:

It is difficult for the intermediate-mass X-ray binaries (IMXBs) evolutionary channel to form intermediate-mass binary pulsars (IMBPs) with a short orbital period (less than 3 d) via stable mass transfer. The main reason is that the magnetic braking mechanisms are generally thought not to work for donor stars with a mass of greater than 1.5 $\rm M_{\odot}$ in the canonical model. However, some intermediate-mass stars have anomalously strong magnetic fields (about 100 -- 10000 G), i. e. so-called Ap or Bp stars. With the coupling between the magnetic field and the irradiation-driven wind from the surface of Ap/Bp stars, a plausible magnetic braking mechanism should be expected. In this work, we attempt to investigate if IMXBs with Ap/Bp stars can produce IMBPs with a short orbital period (less than 3 d) by such an anomalous magnetic braking mechanism. Using a stellar evolution code, we have simulated the evolution of a large number of IMXBs consisting of a NS and an Ap/Bp star. For the spin evolution of the NS, we consider the accretion torque, the propeller torque, and the spin-down torque caused by the interaction between the magnetic field and the accretion disc. The calculated results show that, employing anomalous magnetic braking of Ap/Bp stars, IMXBs can evolve into compact IMBPs with short orbital periods of less than 3 d. However, there exists significant discrepancy between the spin periods of IMBPs in our simulated results and those observed.

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