(1 vote from 1 institution)
Recent gamma-ray observations show that middle aged supernova remnants (SNRs) interacting with molecular clouds (MCs) can be sources of both GeV and TeV emission. Based on the MC association, two scenarios have been proposed to explain the observed gamma-ray emission. In one, energetic cosmic ray (CR) particles escape from the SNR and then illuminate nearby MCs, producing gamma-ray emission, while the other involves direct interaction between the SNR and MC. In the direct interaction scenario, re-acceleration of pre-existing CRs in the ambient medium is investigated while particles injected from the thermal pool are neglected in view of the slow shock speeds in middle aged SNRs. However, standard diffusive shock acceleration (DSA) theory produces a steady state particle spectrum that is too flat compared to observations, which suggests that the high energy part of the observed spectrum has not yet reached a steady state. We derive a time dependent DSA solution in the test particle limit for re-acceleration of pre-existing CRs case and show that it is capable of reproducing the observed gamma-ray emission in SNRs like IC 443 and W44, in the context of a MC interaction model. We also provide a simple physical picture to understand the time dependent DSA spectrum. A spatially averaged diffusion coefficient around the SNR can be estimated through fitting the gamma-ray spectrum. The spatially averaged diffusion coefficient in middle aged SNRs like IC 443 and W44 is estimated to be ~ 10^25 cm^2/s at ~ 1GeV, which is between the Bohm limit and interstellar value.