Atomic data for modeling K lines of interest in astrophysical plasmas

Patrick Palmeri (1), Pascal  Quinet (1,2), Claudio Mendoza (3), Manuel A. Bautista (4), Michael C. Witthoeft (5), Timothy R. Kallman (5)

(1) Astrophysique et Spectroscopie, Université de Mons – UMONS, B-7000 Mons, Belgium. (2) IPNAS, Université de Liège, B15 Sart Tilman, B-4000 Liège, Belgium. (3) Instituto de Fisica, IVIC, Caracas, Venezuela. (4) Department of Physics, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, USA. (5) Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Greenbelt, USA.

The improved resolution and sensitivity of current satellite-borne X-ray telescopes (Chandra, XMM-Newton, and Suzaku) are allowing for the study of weak spectral features which are nonetheless of astrophysical interest. This is the case for light odd-Z elements and iron peak elements other than iron and nickel whose absorption K lines have been observed in the high-resolution Chandra spectrum of the micro quasar GRO J1655-40 and abundances have been determined [1].

In this study, the Hartree-Fock method that includes relativistic corrections (HFR) as implemented in the Cowan’s atomic structure computer suite [2] has been used to compute complete data sets of level energies, transition wavelengths, A-values, radiative and Auger widths, and level fluorescence yields for K-vacancy states of the F, Na, P, Cl, K, Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Co, Cu, and Zn isonuclear sequences. These calculations have been carried out using the grid computing technology [3]; the atomic parameters for more than 4 millions fine structure K lines have been determined in one go. Moreover, Python scripts have been used to run the Cowan’s codes and to generate automatically electronic tables of level and line atomic data. Ions with electron number N > 9 are treated for the first time. Detailed comparisons with measurements and theoretical data for ions with N ≤ 9 are carried out in order to estimate reliable accuracy ratings.

Poster presented at the 17th International Conference on Atomic Processes in Plasmas, Queen’s University Belfast, 19-22 July 2011.


  1. T. R. Kallman, M. A. Bautista, S. Goriely, et al., Astrophys. J. 701, 865 (2009).
  2. R. D. Cowan, The Theory of Atomic Structure and Spectra (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1981).
  3. BEgrid, The Belgian Grid for Research,
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