Baryon loading of gamma-ray burst by neutron pickup

Amir Levinson, David Eichler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


It is proposed that the baryons in gamma-ray burst (GRB) fireballs originate as "pickup" neutrons that leak in sideways from surrounding baryonic matter and convert to protons in a collision avalanche. The asymptotic Lorentz factor is estimated and, in the absence of collimation, is shown to be angle-dependent. Reasonable agreement is obtained with existing limits on the GRB baryonic component. The charged decay and collision products of the neutrons become ultrarelativistic immediately, and an ultra-high-energy neutrino burst is produced with an efficiency that can exceed 0.5. Other signatures may include lithium, beryllium, and/or boron lines in the supernova remnants associated with GRBs and the high polarization of the gamma rays.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L19-L22
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 II
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2003


  • Gamma rays: Bursts
  • Gamma rays: Theory
  • Radiation mechanisms: Nonthermal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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