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Deconvolving Pulsar Signals with Cyclic Spectroscopy: A Systematic Evaluation

Presentation #216.01 in the session “Pulsars and Timing Analysis”.

Published onJan 11, 2021
Deconvolving Pulsar Signals with Cyclic Spectroscopy: A Systematic Evaluation

Radio pulsar signals are significantly perturbed by their propagation through the ionized interstellar medium. In addition to the frequency-dependent pulse times of arrival due to dispersion, pulse shapes are also distorted and shifted, having been scattered by the inhomogeneous interstellar plasma, affecting pulse arrival times. Understanding the degree to which scattering affects pulsar timing is important for gravitational wave detection with pulsar timing arrays (PTAs), which depend on the reliability of pulsars as stable clocks with an uncertainty of ~100ns or less over ~10yr or more. Scattering can be described as a convolution of the intrinsic pulse shape with an impulse response function representing the effects of multipath propagation. In previous studies, the technique of cyclic spectroscopy has been applied to pulsar signals to deconvolve the effects of scattering from the original emitted signals. We present an analysis of simulated data to test the quality of deconvolution using cyclic spectroscopy over a range of parameters characterizing interstellar scattering and pulsar signal-to-noise ratio. We show that cyclic spectroscopy is most effective for high-S/N and/or highly scattered pulsars. We conclude that cyclic spectroscopy could play an important role in scattering correction to distant populations of highly scattered pulsars not currently included in PTAs. For future telescopes and for current instruments such as the Green Bank Telescope upgraded with the ultrawide bandwidth (UWB) receiver, cyclic spectroscopy could potentially double the number of PTA-quality pulsars.

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