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FRB Theory Catalogue

Welcome to the FRB Theory Wiki!

This is a collaborative effort between theorists and astronomers to discuss and track theories and observations pertaining to fast radio bursts (FRBs). The field of FRBs is in its fairly nascent stages and theories are abound. It is getting hard to keep abreast of the latest ideas and observations. This wiki aims to do the following:

  1. Track published FRB theories, their predictions in different wavebands, current observational constraints, and future tests.
  2. Serve as a discussion board to hash out finer points of theories, possible extensions and modifications.
  3. Serve as a tracer of the zeitgeist and how (over the next decade or so) science converges on the answer(s).
  4. Publish 'state of theory' snapshots every year (with all contributors invited to be authors).
  5. Serve as a theory complement to the FRB Catalogue

The FRB theory catalog and its corresponding paper are being reviewed in Physics Review. Please cite ArXiV:1810.05836 if it was of use to your work.

Email Shriharsh Tendulkar or Amanda Weltman if you need more help/information, suggest a feature or report a bug.

Contributing to the Wiki

You are invited to contribute to the discussion by signing in/making an account (at the top right corner). This wiki is divided into the summary page, that concisely tabulates current FRB theories, and the individual theory discussion pages, where further discussion takes place. The summary page (i.e. this page) is editable only by administrators. All other pages are editable by anyone with an account. See Instructions for more details.

Rules and Guidelines

Click here for detailed instructions

We expect a healthy and frank discussion of ideas on this wiki. As many of these ideas are fairly personal, arguments can get heated. We would like to remind users that this is public discussion forum. The basic rule to follow is the golden rule: Treat others (and others' ideas) the way you'd like to yourself or your ideas be treated. Be fair and polite, using the same tone as a good referee report. Moderators may send warnings or ban users for not following this rule.

We expect that people will use their real names and email addresses in the login. The moderators may ask you to update your user information.

Follow the setup of the wiki in general — For example, if a section requests a concise summary, please keep it short. Moderators will be going through editing and wordsmithing to keep a uniform look.

Summary Table

Note: The low frequency radio range is defined to be from ~30 MHz to 3 GHz and the high frequency radio range is defined to be from 3 to 30 GHz.
The table is too wide to fit on all screens — Scroll right to see other columns.

Name Category Progenitor Type Energy Mechanism Emission Mechanism LF Radio Counterpart HF Radio Counterpart Microwave Counterpart THz Counterpart OIR Counterpart X ray Counterpart Gamma ray Counterpart GW Counterpart Neutrino Counterpart References Comments
NS-WD Accretion Accretion NS-WD Repeat Mag. reconnection Curv. Yes Yes -- -- -- -- Yes, but unlikely detectable -- -- URL None
AGN-KBH AGN AGN-KBH Interaction Repeat Maser Synch. Yes -- -- -- Supernova -- Yes Yes Yes URL Neutrinos from preceding SN and from collapse to BH.
AGN-SS AGN AGN-Strange Star Interaction Repeat Electron oscillation -- Yes -- -- -- Thermal -- Yes Yes Yes URL Neutrinos from preceding SN and from collapse to BH. GW from collapse and persistent GWs from SS.
Jet-Caviton AGN Jet-Caviton Interaction Both Electron scattering Bremsst. Yes Yes -- -- -- -- Possible GRB Yes -- URL URL Persistent scintillating radio emission.
Wandering Beam AGN Wandering Beam Repeat -- Synch. Yes -- -- -- -- Yes -- -- -- URL None
NS to BH (DM-Induced) Collapse NS to BH Single Mag. reconnection Curv. Yes -- -- -- -- -- -- Yes -- URL None
NS to KNBH Collapse NS to KNBH Single Mag. reconnection Curv. Yes -- -- -- -- Possible afterglow Possible GRB Yes -- URL URL URL Possible X-ray afterglow and a short/long GRB created in NS birth prior to the FRB.
NS to Quark Star Collapse NS to Quark Star Single β-decay Synch. Yes -- -- -- -- Yes Yes Yes -- URL The burst is predicted to be several seconds, explainable if the de-dispersion process that stacks f
SS Crust Collapse Strange Star Crust Single Mag. reconnection Curv. Yes -- -- -- -- -- -- Yes -- URL None
Axion Cloud and BH Collision / Interaction Superradiant Axion Cloud and BH Repeat Laser Synch. Yes -- -- -- -- -- -- Yes -- URL Observational counterparts could be associated with electron-positron annihilation and/or positroniu
Axion Minicluster and NS Collision / Interaction Axion Minicluster and NS Single Maser Synch. Yes -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- URL None
Axion Quark Nugget and NS Collision / Interaction Axion Quark Nugget and NS Repeat Mag. reconnection Curv. Yes Possible Possible -- -- -- -- -- -- URL None
Axion Star and BH Collision / Interaction Axion Star and BH Repeat Electron oscillation -- Yes -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- URL None
Axion Star and NS Collision / Interaction Axion Star and NS Single Electron oscillation -- Yes -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- URL URL URL None
NS and Primordial BH Collision / Interaction NS and Primordial BH Both Mag. reconnection -- Yes -- -- -- -- -- -- Yes -- URL None
Small Body and Pulsar Collision / Interaction Small Body and Pulsar Single Maser Synch. Yes -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- URL None
NS and Asteroid Belt Collision/ Interaction NS and Asteroid Belt Repeat Electron stripping Curv. Yes -- -- -- -- -- Yes -- -- URL URL None
NS and Asteroids/Comets Collision/ Interaction NS and Asteroids/ Comets Single Mag. reconnection Curv. Yes -- -- -- -- Yes (probably too faint to detect) Yes (probably too faint to detect) -- -- URL None
Pulsar-BH Interaction Interaction Pulsar-BH Single -- -- Yes ? -- -- -- -- -- Yes -- URL
Annihilating Mini BHs Inviable Annihilating Mini BHs Single N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A URL None
Neutral Cosmic Strings Inviable Neutral Cosmic Strings Single N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A URL None
Stellar Coronae Inviable Stellar Corona Both N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A URL URL None
KNBH-BH (Inspiral) Merger KNBH-BH Single Mag. flux change Curv. Yes Afterglow -- -- -- Yes sGRB
if jet aligned
Yes -- URL Unlikely to account for full FRB population.
KNBH-BH (Magneto. Collapse) Merger KNBH-BH Single Mag. reconnection Curv. Yes Afterglow -- -- -- -- Afterglow Yes -- URL Can only account for a sub-population of FRBs.
NS-BH Merger Merger NS-BH Single BH battery -- -- -- -- -- -- Yes Yes Yes -- URL None
NS-NS Merger (Mag. Braking) Merger NS-NS Single Mag. braking -- Yes Yes -- -- Kilonova Afterglow sGRB
if jet aligned
Yes -- URL
NS-NS Merger (Mag. Flux Change) Merger NS-NS Both Mag. flux change -- Yes Yes -- -- Kilonova Afterglow sGRB
if jet aligned
Yes -- URL In dense stellar clusters
NS-NS Merger (Mag. Reconnection) Merger NS-NS Both Mag. reconnection Curv. Yes (excl. self absorption) Yes ? ? Kilonova Afterglow sGRB
if jet aligned
Yes -- URL None
NS-WD Merger Merger NS-WD Single Mag. reconnection Curv. Yes Yes -- -- -- -- -- -- -- URL
WD-BH Merger Merger WD-BH Single Maser Synch. -- -- -- -- -- Yes (transient accretion disk) -- -- -- URL None
WD-WD Merger Merger WD-WD Single Mag. reconnection Curv. Yes -- -- -- Supernova Afterglow -- -- -- URL --
Alien Light Sails Other Alien Light Sails Repeat Artificial transmitter -- Yes -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- URL Highly speculative.
DSR in Galaxies Other Dicke's Superradiance in Galaxies Both Dicke's Superradiance Spectral line Yes Yes -- -- -- -- -- -- -- URL URL --
NS Combing Other NS Combing Both Various Mag. reconnection Yes -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- URL URL The model can apply to a variety of events, and thus counterparts will depend on the scenario.
Pulsar Lightning Other Pulsar Lightning Repeat Electrostatic Curv. Yes -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- URL None
Starquakes Other Starquakes Repeat Mag. reconnection Curv. Yes -- -- -- -- Yes Yes
if jet aligned
-- -- URL None
Superconducting Cosmic Strings Other Superconducting Cosmic Strings Single Cusp decay -- Yes -- -- -- -- -- GRB
if jet aligned
Yes Yes URL URL URL High energy cosmic rays are also expected.
Tiny EM Explosions Other Tiny EM Explosions Both Thin shell interactions Curv. Yes Yes -- -- -- -- Unlikely observable -- -- URL URL None
Variable Stars Other Variable Stars Repeat Undulator Synch. Yes -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- URL None
Wandering Pulsar Other Wandering Pulsar Beams Repeat -- -- Yes -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- URL Any counterparts will be associated with the pulsar, but are not specified.
White Holes Other White Holes Single -- -- Yes -- -- -- Yes -- Yes -- -- URL URL None
NS-SN Interaction Shock Interaction NS-SN Interaction Single Mag. reconnection -- Yes -- -- -- Supernova -- possible GRB (low flux) -- -- URL
MWN Shock (Clustered Flares) SNR (Magnetars) MWD Shock (Clustered Flares) Repeat Maser Synch. Yes Afterglow -- -- Maybe -- Low energy gamma-rays, sGRB if jet aligned Yes -- URL None
MWN Shock (Single Flare) SNR (Magnetars) MWD Shock (Single Flare) Single Maser Synch. Yes Afterglow -- -- Maybe -- Low energy gamma-rays, sGRB if jet aligned Yes -- URL URL URL None
Giant Pulses SNR (Pulsars) Giant Pulses Repeat -- Synch.
/ Curv.
Yes -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- URL URL URL Rapid flux decay expected to be observed within a few years.
Pulsar Schwinger Pairs SNR (Pulsars) Pulsar Schwinger Pairs Single Schwinger Curv. Yes -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- URL None
Pulsar Wind Bubble SNR (Pulsars) Pulsar Wind Bubble (NS and MWD) Single -- Synch. Yes -- -- -- -- Yes -- -- -- URL None