Dynamical Cycles in Charge and Energy for Iron Ions Accelerated in a Hot Plasma
- Authors: Kocharov, L.; Kovaltsov, G. A.; Torsti, J.
- Publication: The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 556, Issue 2, pp. 919-927, 2001
- Theoretical study
- ADS link
- Abstract: We consider a unified model of Fe ion acceleration in the solar corona. The model comprises charge-changing processes, Coulomb energy losses, and both regular and stochastic acceleration. At a given acceleration scenario, the type of acceleration is found to have a minor effect on the mean charge states, but the shapes of the charge-state distributions produced by regular acceleration and by stochastic acceleration are different. During a continual acceleration at coronal temperatures, iron ions typically follow rising trajectories on the charge-energy plane. These trajectories are situated below the mean equilibrium charge curve defined from the balance of ionization and recombination at fixed energy. During stopping, the iron ions cross the equilibrium charge curve and run through a series of charge states above the mean equilibrium charge at current energy, because the Coulomb deceleration rate significantly exceeds the rate of the ion recombination in a hot plasma. As a result, the variety of possible trajectories on the ion charge-energy plane turns out to be much wider than would be expected based on the equilibrium charge-state approximation. In particular, we find dynamical cycles in charge and energy, so that accelerated and highly stripped ions may reappear at low energies. We also find that the equilibrium charge curve cannot be reproduced without strong reduction in the total number of accelerated particles. This implies that the observed iron charge-state distributions essentially depend on the scenario of their acceleration and transport.