Towards understanding magnetic field generation in relativistic shocks with GRB afterglow observations and the GRB radiation mechanism with photospheric simulations and the X-ray flare radiation mechanism

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2015-12

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In this thesis, we present three projects on open questions in the Gammaray Burst (GRB) field. In the first project, we used X-ray and optical observations to determine the amount of amplification of the ISM magnetic field needed to explain the GRB afterglow observations. We determined that mild amplification is required, at a level stronger than shock-compression but weaker than predicted by the Weibel mechanism. In the second project, we present a Monte Carlo code we wrote from scratch to perform realistic simulations of the photospheric process, one of the mechanisms considered to explain the GRB gamma-ray emission. We determined that photospheric emission can explain the GRB gamma-ray spectrum above the peak-energy if the photons are taken to have a temperature much smaller than the electron temperature and if the interactions between photons and electrons take place at a large optical depth. In the third project, we used multi-wavelength observations to constrain the X-ray flare radiation mechanism. We determined that synchrotron from a Poynting jet and the Photospheric process are the best candidates to explain the X-ray flare observations.

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