- Conference date: 24-28 June 2002
- Location: Rome (Italy)
X‐ray absorption and emission features arising from the inner‐shell transitions in iron are of practical importance in astrophysics due to the Fe cosmic abundance and to the absence of traits from other elements in the nearby spectrum. As a result, the strengths and energies of such features can constrain the ionization stage, elemental abundance, and column density of the gas in the vicinity of the exotic cosmic objects, e.g. active galactic nuclei (AGN) and galactic black hole candidates. Although the observational technology in X‐ray astronomy is still evolving and currently lacks high spectroscopic resolution, the astrophysical models have been based on atomic calculations that predict a sudden and high step‐like increase of the cross section at the K‐shell threshold (see for instance Ref. ). New Breit‐Pauli R‐matrix calculations of the photoionization cross section of the ground states of Fe xvii in the region near the K threshold are presented. They strongly support the view that the previously assumed sharp edge behaviour is not correct. The latter has been caused by the neglect of spectator Auger channels in the decay of the resonances converging to the K threshold. These decay channels include the dominant KLL channels and give rise to constant widths (independent of n). As a consequence, these series display damped Lorentzian components that rapidly blend to impose continuity at threshold, thus reformatting the previously held picture of the edge. Apparent broadened iron edges detected in the spectra of AGN and galactic black hole candidates seem [2, 3] to indicate that these quantum effects may be at least partially responsible for the observed broadening.
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