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  1. Abstract

    The detection of a gravitational-wave signal and subsequent electromagnetic transient from a neutron star merger in 2017 is consistent with expectations of neutron star mergers as anr-process element production site. Within the first few days post-merger, the kilonova spectra are consistent with a blackbody illuminating a mix of heavy,r-process elements. With increasing time, the kilonova transitions to the non-LTE regime where the level populations and ionization balance are determined by both collisional and photoprocesses. Detailed cross section data for electron-impact processes involving the relevant species are often not available. In such circumstances, it is reasonable to use approximate methods as baseline data for use in spectral modeling, and it is useful to evaluate the accuracy of such methods against more sophisticated collision calculations when possible. We describe new calculations of the electron-impact excitation cross sections of PtiiIiusing the DARCR-matrix codes. Using collisional-radiative models, we show that, at plasma conditions expected in kilonovae, the expressions of van Regemorter and Axelrod are insufficient for producing electron-impact excitation data for complex, heavy species such as the low charge states of Pt. Through comparisons with data generated with the relativistic distorted wave approach, as implemented in the Flexible Atomic Code, we show the distorted wave method produces cross section data that, when incorporated into spectral models, predicts strong spectral feature distributions similar in intensity to those from models built on data computed with theR-matrix approach for the considered ions and plasma conditions.

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  2. ABSTRACT Neutron binary star mergers have long been proposed as sufficiently neutron rich environments that could support the synthesis of rapid neutron capture elements (r-process elements) such as gold. However, the literature reveals that beyond neutral and singly ionized systems, there is an incompleteness of atomic data for the remaining ion stages of importance for mergers. In this work, we report on relativistic atomic structure calculations for Au i–Au iii using the grasp0 codes. Comparisons to calculations using the Flexible Atomic Code suggest uncertainties on average of 9.2 per cent, 5.7 per cent, and 3.8 per cent for Au i–Au iii level energies. Agreement around ∼50 per cent is achieved between our computed A-values and those in the literature, where available. Using the grasp0 structure of Au i, we calculated electron-impact excitation rate coefficients and use a collisional-radiative model to explore the excitation dynamics and line ratio diagnostics possible in neutron star merger environments. We find that proper accounting of metastable populations is critical for extracting useful information from ultraviolet–visible line ratio diagnostics of Au i. As a test of our data, we applied our electron-impact data to study a gold hollow cathode spectrum in the literature and diagnosed the plasma conditions as Te = 3.1 ± 1.2 eV and $n_\textrm {e} = 2.7^{+1.3}_{-0.9}\times 10^{13}$ cm−3. 
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  3. Abstract Two papers recently reported the detection of gaseous nickel and iron in the comae of over 20 comets from observations collected over two decades, including interstellar comet 2I/Borisov. To evaluate the state of the laboratory data in support of these identifications, we reanalyzed archived spectra of comet C/1996 B2 (Hyakutake), one of the nearest and brightest comets of the past century, using a combined experimental and computational approach. We developed a new, many-level fluorescence model that indicates that the fluorescence emissions of Fe I and Ni I vary greatly with heliocentric velocity. Combining this model with laboratory spectra of an Fe-Ni plasma, we identified 22 lines of Fe I and 14 lines of Ni I in the spectrum of Hyakutake. Using Haser models, we estimate the nickel and iron production rates as Q Ni = (2.6–4.1) × 10 22 s −1 and Q Fe = (0.4–2.8) × 10 23 s −1 . From derived column densities, the Ni/Fe abundance ratio log 10 [Ni/Fe] = −0.15 ± 0.07 deviates significantly from solar abundance ratios, and it is consistent with the ratios observed in solar system comets. Possible production and emission mechanisms are analyzed in the context of existing laboratory measurements. Based on the observed spatial distributions, excellent fluorescence model agreement, and Ni/Fe ratio, our findings support an origin consisting of a short-lived unknown parent followed by fluorescence emission. Our models suggest that the strong heliocentric velocity dependence of the fluorescence efficiencies can provide a meaningful test of the physical process responsible for the Fe I and Ni I emission. 
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  4. Abstract

    We present UV and/or optical observations and models of SN 2023ixf, a type II supernova (SN) located in Messier 101 at 6.9 Mpc. Early time (flash) spectroscopy of SN 2023ixf, obtained primarily at Lick Observatory, reveals emission lines of Hi, Hei/ii, Civ, and Niii/iv/vwith a narrow core and broad, symmetric wings arising from the photoionization of dense, close-in circumstellar material (CSM) located around the progenitor star prior to shock breakout. These electron-scattering broadened line profiles persist for ∼8 days with respect to first light, at which time Doppler broadened the features from the fastest SN ejecta form, suggesting a reduction in CSM density atr≳ 1015cm. The early time light curve of SN 2023ixf shows peak absolute magnitudes (e.g.,Mu= −18.6 mag,Mg= −18.4 mag) that are ≳2 mag brighter than typical type II SNe, this photometric boost also being consistent with the shock power supplied from CSM interaction. Comparison of SN 2023ixf to a grid of light-curve and multiepoch spectral models from the non-LTE radiative transfer codeCMFGENand the radiation-hydrodynamics codeHERACLESsuggests dense, solar-metallicity CSM confined tor= (0.5–1) × 1015cm, and a progenitor mass-loss rate ofṀ=102Myr−1. For the assumed progenitor wind velocity ofvw= 50 km s−1, this corresponds to enhanced mass loss (i.e.,superwindphase) during the last ∼3–6 yr before explosion.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024