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Paper: Atomic and Molecular Depolarizing Collision Rates
Volume: 405, Solar Polarization 5: In Honor of Jan Olof Stenflo
Page: 335
Authors: Bommier, V.
Abstract: This paper is divided in three parts: after having recalled the different types of collisions with the different types of perturbers and having provided rough orders of magnitude of the collision rates, three cases are discussed. Although the most frequent type of depolarizing collision is the one of the collisions with the surrounding Hydrogen atoms, we discuss in the first part a particular case where the depolarizing collision effect is due to collisions with electrons and protons. This is the case of the Hydrogen lines observed in solar prominences. We recall how the interpretation of polarization observations in two lines has led to the joint determination of the magnetic field vector and the electron and proton density, and we show that this density determination gives results in agreement with the densities determined by interpretation of the Stark effect, provided that this last effect be evaluated in the impact approximation scheme which is indeed more valid than the quasistatic approach at these densities. In the second part, we describe a method that has been recently developed for the computation of the depolarizing rates in the case of collisions with the neutral Hydrogen atom. The case of molecular lines is less favourable, because, even if depolarizing collision rates computation may be soon expected and begin to be done inside the ground level of the molecule, calculations inside the excited states are far from the present ability. In the third part, we present an example where the excited state depolarizing rates were evaluated together with the magnetic field through the differential Hanle effect interpretation, based on the fact that the molecule provides a series of lines of different sensitivities that can be compared. This led to an experimental/observational determination of these rates, waiting for future theoretical computations for comparison.
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