Synchrotron X-ray emission components were recently detected in many young supernova remnants (SNRs). There is even an emerging class – SN 1006, RX J1713.72−3946, Vela Jr and others – that is dominated by non-thermal emission in X-rays, also probably of synchrotron origin. Such emission results from electrons/positrons accelerated well above TeV energies in the spectral cut-off regime. In the case of diffusive shock acceleration, which is the most promising accelerationmechanism in SNRs, very strong magnetic fluctuations with amplitudes well above the mean magnetic field must be present. Starting from such a fluctuating field, we have simulated images of polarized X-ray emission of SNR shells and show that these are highly clumpy with high polarizations up to 50 per cent. Another distinct characteristic of this emission is the strong intermittency, resulting from the fluctuating field amplifications. The details of this ‘twinkling’ polarized X-ray emission of SNRs depend strongly on the magnetic field fluctuation spectra, providing a potentially sensitive diagnostic tool. We demonstrate that the predicted characteristics can be studied with instruments that are currently being considered. These can give unique information on magnetic field characteristics and highenergy particle acceleration in SNRs
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