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Astron. Astrophys. Suppl. Ser. 143, 495-514

X-ray photoionized plasma diagnostics with helium-like ions. Application to warm absorber-emitter in active galactic nuclei

D. Porquet1,2 - J. Dubau3

Send offprint request: D. Porquet

1 - DAEC, Observatoire de Paris, Section Meudon, F-92195 Meudon Cedex, France
2 - CEA/DSM/DAPNIA, Service d'Astrophysique, CEA Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
3 - DARC, Observatoire de Paris, Section Meudon, F-92195 Meudon Cedex, France

Received July 15, 1999; accepted February 11, 2000


We present He-like line ratios (resonance, intercombination and forbidden lines) for totally and partially photoionized media. For solar plasmas, these line ratios are already widely used for density and temperature diagnostics of coronal (collisional) plasmas. In the case of totally and partially photoionized plasmas, He-like line ratios allow for the determination of the ionization processes involved in the plasma (photoionization with or without an additional collisional ionization process), as well as the density and the electronic temperature.

With the new generation of X-ray satellites, Chandra/AXAF, XMM and Astro-E, it will be feasible to obtain both high spectral resolution and high sensitivity observations. Thus in the coming years, the ratios of these three components will be measurable for a large number of non-solar objects.

In particular, these ratios could be applied to the Warm Absorber-Emitter, commonly present in Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). A better understanding of the Warm Absorber connection to other regions (Broad Line Region, Narrow Line Region) in AGN (Seyferts type-1 and type-2, low- and high-redshift quasars...) will be an important key to obtaining strong constraints on unified schemes.

We have calculated He-like line ratios, for Z=6, 7, 8, 10, 12 and 14, taking into account the upper level radiative cascades which we have computed for radiative and dielectronic recombinations and collisional excitation. The atomic data are tabulated over a wide range of temperatures in order to be used for interpreting a large variety of astrophysical plasmas.

Key words: atomic data -- atomic process -- line: formation -- techniques: spectroscopic -- galaxies: active -- (galaxies:) quasars: emission lines -- X-rays: galaxies

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