Revisiting the Fe xvii Line Emission Problem: Laboratory Measurements of the 3s-2p and 3d-2p Line-formation Channels

Chintan Shah, José R.Crespo López-Urrutia, Ming Feng Gu, Thomas Pfeifer, José Marques, Filipe Grilo, José Paulo Santos, Pedro Amaro

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We determined relative X-ray photon emission cross sections in Fe xvii ions that were mono-energetically excited in an electron beam ion trap. Line formation for the 3s (3s-2p) and 3d (3d-2p) transitions of interest proceeds through dielectronic recombination (DR), direct electron-impact excitation (DE), resonant excitation (RE), and radiative cascades. By reducing the electron-energy spread to a sixth of that of previous works and increasing counting statistics by three orders of magnitude, we account for hitherto unresolved contributions from DR and the little-studied RE process to the 3d transitions, and also for cascade population of the 3s line manifold through forbidden states. We found good agreement with state-of-the-art many-body perturbation theory (MBPT) and the distorted-wave (DW) method for the 3s transition, while in the 3d transitions known discrepancies were confirmed. Our results show that DW calculations overestimate the 3d line emission due to DE by ∼20%. Inclusion of electron-electron correlation effects through the MBPT method in the DE cross-section calculations reduces this disagreement by ∼11%. The remaining ∼9% in 3d and ∼11% in 3s/3d discrepancies are consistent with those found in previous laboratory measurements, solar, and astrophysical observations. Meanwhile, spectral models of opacity, temperature, and turbulence velocity should be adjusted to these experimental cross sections to optimize the accuracy of plasma diagnostics based on these bright soft X-ray lines of Fe xvii.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2019


  • atomic data
  • atomic processes
  • line: formation
  • methods: laboratory: atomic
  • plasmas
  • X-rays: general


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