Dielectronic recombination of Fe 3pq ions: a key ingredient for describing X-ray absorption in active galactic nuclei

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We have carried out multiconfiguration Breit-Pauli AUTOSTRUCTURE calculations for the dielectronic recombination (DR) of Fe8+-Fe12+ ions. We obtain total DR rate coefficients for the initial ground level that are an order of magnitude larger than those corresponding to radiative recombination (RR), at temperatures where Fe 3pq () ions are abundant in photoionized plasmas. The resultant total (DR+RR) rate coefficients are then an order of magnitude larger than those currently in use by photoionized plasma modeling codes such as CLOUDY, ION, and XSTAR. These rate coefficients, together with our previous results for and 1, are critical for determining the ionization balance of the M-shell Fe ions that give rise to the prominent unresolved-transition-array X-ray absorption feature found in the spectrum of many active galactic nuclei. This feature is poorly described by CLOUDY and ION, necessitating an ad hoc modification to the low-temperature DR rate coefficients. Such modifications are no longer necessary, and a rigorous approach to such modeling can now take place using these data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L73-L76
Number of pages4
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Early online date17 Oct 2006
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2006


  • atomic data
  • atomic processes
  • galaxies
  • active galaxies
  • nuclei X-rays
  • plasmas

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