A general picture of pulsar magnetospheres is outlined which suggests polar current flow should proceed within a magnetic flux tube with conducting boundaries. The dynamics of this current flow is considered, including the effect of formation of pair plasma on the potential. A slot gap surrounding the stream of pair plasma is described, and the electric fields and J·E work done in the gap are calculated. The inapplicability of curvature emission to the formation of γ-ray pulses is discussed. The dynamics of pair plasma flow is described, including electrostatic trapping of low energy positrons, polar cap bombardment and heating, and the emission of soft X-rays from the cap. The relation of this current flow and polar cap heating to the formation of fluctuations on the radio subpulse time scale is also described. The importance of the boundary layer between the pair plasma and the slot gap is illustrated by calculations of the boundary layer structure and microscopic instability, which show that this region may be the source of pulsar emission.
I will describe a number of quantitative results and qualitative aspects of work in progress on the “slot gap” model for the emission regions of a pulsar, proposed by Arons and Scharlemann (1979, hereafter AS) and by Arons (1979b, hereafter I). The results and ideas concern the dynamics and emission physics of relativistic plasma and current flow along the polar field lines of an isolated, rotating magnetized neutron star with the axis of its dipole moment oblique to the rotation axis - a pulsar. The quantitative modelling is confined to the physics within a polar flux tube and is therefore “local”. Full detail will be given in papers now being written. However, development of this type of model requires the use of boundary conditions which follow from a qualitative view of the whole magnetosphere. Because this view involves some qualitative ideas not widely discussed in the literature, I describe it briefly.