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Astrophys J. 2000 Mar 20;532(1):L47-L50.

Formation of Short-Period Binary Pulsars in Globular Clusters.


We present a new dynamical scenario for the formation of short-period binary millisecond pulsars in globular clusters. Our work is motivated by the recent observations of 20 radio pulsars in 47 Tuc. In a dense cluster such as 47 Tuc, most neutron stars acquire binary companions through exchange interactions with primordial binaries. The resulting systems have semimajor axes in the range approximately 0.1-1 AU and neutron star companion masses approximately 1-3 M middle dot in circle. For many of these systems, we find that when the companion evolves off the main sequence and fills its Roche lobe, the subsequent mass transfer is dynamically unstable. This leads to a common envelope phase and the formation of short-period neutron star-white dwarf binaries. For a significant fraction of these binaries, the decay of the orbit due to gravitational radiation will be followed by a period of stable mass transfer driven by a combination of gravitational radiation and tidal heating of the companion. The properties of the resulting short-period binaries match well those of observed binary pulsars in 47 Tuc.

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