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W. Becker, V.E. Zavlin (MPE), G.G. Pavlov, D. Sanwal (PSU)
Millisecond pulsars were studied exclusively in the radio domain until the early 1990's, when ROSAT, ASCA, BeppoSAX and RXTE were launched. Today, after 10 years of dedicated pulsar studies, almost one third of the 36 detected rotation-powered pulsars belong to the group of ms-pulsars. Nevertheless, the origin of the detected X-rays is not well constrained. Whether the group of X-ray detected ms-pulsars has to be divided into hot polar-cap and non-thermal magnetospheric emitters, or whether the emission arises entirely from non-thermal processes, isn't clear so far. The existing data are not conclusive in this respect but observations with XMM-Newton and Chandra will provide the desired sensitivity to finally identify the emission processes. Our contribution will summarize the current observational status and report on new results from the solitary ms-pulsar PSR J0030+0451 and recent Chandra observations of PSR J0437-4715.
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