Modeling spectral lags in active galactic nucleus flares in the context of Lorentz invariance violation searches
Context. High-energy photons emitted by flaring active galactic nuclei (AGNs) have been used for many years to constrain modified dispersion relations in vacuum encountered in the context of quantum gravity phenomenology. In such studies, done in the GeV-TeV range, energy-dependent delays (spectral lags) are searched for, usually neglecting any source-intrinsic time delay.
Aims: With the aim being to distinguish Lorentz invariance violation (LIV) effects from lags generated at the sources themselves, a detailed investigation into intrinsic spectral lags in flaring AGNs above 100 GeV is presented in the frame of synchrotron-self-Compton scenarios for their very-high-energy (VHE) emission.
Methods: A simple model of VHE flares in blazars is proposed, allowing to explore the influence of the main physical parameters describing the emitting zones on intrinsic delays.
Results: For typical conditions expected in TeV blazars, significant intrinsic lags are obtained, which can dominate over LIV effects, especially at low redshifts, and should therefore be carefully disentangled from any extrinsic lags. Moreover, two main regimes are identified with characteristic spectral lags, corresponding to long-lasting and fast particle acceleration.
Conclusions: Such intrinsic spectral lags should be detected with new-generation instruments at VHE such as the Cherenkov Telescope Array which begins operation in a few years. This will provide original constraints on AGN flare models and open a new era for LIV searches in the photon sector.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- January 2020
- radiation mechanisms: non-thermal;
- galaxies: active;
- BL Lacertae objects: general;
- astroparticle physics;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- 14 pages, 13 figures, 1 appendix. Accepted by A&