- Conference date: 19-22 April 2004
- Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico (USA)
Over the past twenty years significant progress has been made in calculating the vast amounts of relativistic atomic data that are required to model heavy element, non‐LTE plasmas. A number of the relevant processes, including electron‐impact excitation, photoionization, autoionization and electron‐impact ionization, involve the computation of continuum electron wavefunctions. If the plasma consists of ions with sufficiently high charge, then the distorted‐wave approximation is valid and can be used to compute these continuum orbitals and the corresponding cross sections. An overview of the relativistic distorted‐wave approach is provided with an aim toward underscoring the similarities and differences with the longer established, nonrelativistic and semi‐relativistic approaches. An example for extending the distorted‐wave approach to less highly charged systems via the inclusion of resonance contributions to the cross sections is provided. Related topics, such as the top‐up contribution, the high energy (Bethe) cross section limit, the Breit and Møller interactions, and transitions among magnetic sublevels are also discussed.
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