The line profile coefficients for absorption and emission appearing in the radiative transfer equation are formulated in terms of atomic line profile coefficients and velocity distribution functions. In order to derive the atomic profile coefficients of a multilevel atom, one defines generalized atomic redistribution functions that describe the correlations between photons involved in consecutive radiative transitions of the atom. Besides their dependence on the radiation field, the atomic line profile coefficients of a multilevel atom depend on the velocity distributions of the atoms in the various excitation states, in contrast to the case of a two-level atom where only the radiation intensity but not the velocity distributions affect the atomic emission profile. Closed expressions of the atomic profile coefficients in terms of generalized redistribution functions are obtained if stimulated emissions are neglected, and one is led to an iterative approximation scheme if stimulated emissions are taken into account. The possibility of a nonlocal character of the atomic profile coefficients is pointed out, and the effect of elastic, velocity-changing collisions with excited atoms is discussed. A major aim of this paper is to draw attention to the fact that ordinary redistribution functions that describe only the correlations between the absorbed and reemitted photons in the same spectral line are not sufficient to formulate the line profile coefficients of a multilevel atom.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer|
|Publication status||Published - 1983|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics