Multi-wavelength polarimetry of strongly magnetised neutron stars: theoretical modeling and observations
Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London
Neutron stars can have magnetic fields as strong as B ~ 10^13 - 10^15 G, far above those attainable by terrestrial laboratories. Spectro-polarimetric observations of these sources hold the potential to reveal the properties of matter and vacuum under strong magnetic fields. In this talk, I will discuss the modeling of the polarised thermal emission from magnetised neutron stars and the VLT polarimetric observation of RX J1856.5-3754, in which a potential signal of QED vacuum birefringence was identified.I will also present recent developments to model the atmosphere of magnetars and the prospects for future X-ray polarimetric observations with the IXPE and eXTP missions.