Observational limits on inverse Compton processes in gamma-ray bursts

Tsvi Piran*, Re'Em Sari, Yuan Chuan Zou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Inverse Compton (IC) scattering is one of two viable mechanisms that can produce prompt non-thermal soft gamma-ray emission in gamma-ray bursts. IC requires low-energy seed photons and a population of relativistic electrons that upscatter them. The same electrons will upscatter the gamma-ray photons to even higher energies in the TeV range. Using the current upper limits on the prompt optical emission, we show that under general conservative assumption the IC mechanism suffers from an 'energy crisis'. Namely, IC will overproduce a very high energy component that would carry much more energy than the observed prompt gamma-rays, or alternatively it will require a low-energy seed that is more energetic than the prompt gamma-rays. Our analysis is general, and it makes no assumptions on the specific mechanism that produces the relativistic electron population.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1107-1113
Number of pages7
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Gamma-rays: bursts
  • ISM: jets and outflows
  • Radiation mechanisms: non-thermal


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