Date of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Wei K. Cui

Committee Chair

Wei K. Cui

Committee Member 1

John P. Finley

Committee Member 2

Maxim Y. Lyutikov

Committee Member 3

Marc W. Caffee

Committee Member 4

Michael L. McCollough


The detection of GeV/TeV emission from X-ray binaries (XRBs) has established a new class of high-energy (HE, >0.1 GeV) and very-high-energy (VHE, >100 GeV) gamma-ray emitters. XRBs are formed by a compact object, either a neutron star or a black hole, and by an optical companion star. Some XRBs are known to possess collimated relativistic jets, and are called microquasars. VERITAS has conducted observations of the high-mass X-ray binary (HMXB) 1A 0535+262 and of the microquasar Cygnus X-3. Many theoretical models predict VHE emission when these sources manifest persistent relativistic jets or transient ejections. In light of these considerations, VERITAS has been employed to study the two XRBs for possible TeV emission. With the aid of VERITAS, it can be possible to cast light on the particular conditions which could trigger VHE emission. This can help us understand the mechanisms that may trigger VHE gamma-ray emission, thus improving our knowledge of particle acceleration and radiative processes in the jets. The implications have far reaching consequences on the understanding of other XRBs and microquasars and also of active galactic nuclei, which are in many ways similar to microquasars and are prominent VHE gamma-ray sources themselves.