Modelling of plasma screening effects in relativistic multiconfiguration Dirac-Fock calculations. Application to the atomic structure and inner-shell transitions of some iron ions

May 18, 2016, 2:45 PM
8h 15m



Mr Jérôme DEPRINCE (Université de Mons)Dr Pascal QUINET (Université de Mons & Université de Liège)


X-ray emission lines from accreting sources, most notably the K_alpha- and K_beta-lines from iron ions, have observed widths and shifts which imply an origin very close to the compact object in many cases [1]. The inferred line origin can be near either the innermost stable circular orbit or the event horizon in the case of a black hole. The intensity of these lines can provide insight into the amount of gas and other properties, including the effects of special and general relativity in the emitting region, and this information is not available from other observational techniques.

Much of what we can learn from these K-emission lines depends on the use of reliable atomic parameters that allow us to infer the rate at which ions emit or absorb in line transitions under various conditions. In the case of iron ions, for example, these atomic parameters allow us to derive the number of iron ions responsible for line emission observed from different objects, which in turn gives information on the fractional abundance of iron relative to other elements (i.e. hydrogen). However, the rates and assumptions employed in these model calculations are all based on isolated iron ions. They do not account for the true situation which is a dense plasma in which the effects of nearby ions and electrons can have significant effects on the processes affecting line emission and the survival or destruction of iron ions. Although dynamical models for black hole accretion flows appear to support the existence of rather high densities, up to 1E20 – 1E21 cm-3 [2,3], their effect on line emission has not been explored so far.

The main goal of the present work is to estimate the effects of plasma environement on the atomic parameters associated with the K-vacancy states in highly charged iron ions. In order to do this, multiconfiguration Dirac-Fock computations have been carried out for these ions by considering a time averaged Debye-Hückel potential for both the electron-nucleus and electron-electron interactions using a combination of the GRASP92 code [4] for obtaining the wavefunctions and the RATIP code [5] for computing the atomic parameters. A first set of results related to the ionization potentials, the K-thresholds, the transition energies and the radiative emission rates for some iron ions will be presented during the conference.

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Primary author

Mr Jérôme DEPRINCE (Université de Mons)


Dr Pascal QUINET (Université de Mons & Université de Liège) Dr Patrick PALMERI (Université de Mons)

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