The Polarization of the Solar Ba II D<SUB>1</SUB> Line with Partial Frequency Redistribution and Its Magnetic Sensitivity

Alsina Ballester, Ernest; del Pino Alemán, Tanausú; Trujillo Bueno, Javier
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The Astrophysical Journal

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We investigate the main physical mechanisms that shape the intensity and polarization of the Ba II D1 line at 4934 Å via radiative transfer numerical experiments. We focus especially on the scattering linear polarization arising from the spectral structure of the anisotropic radiation in the wavelength interval spanned by the line's hyperfine structure (HFS) components in the odd isotopes of barium. After verifying that the presence of the low-energy metastable levels only impacts the amplitude, but not the shape, of the D1 linear polarization, we relied on a two-term atomic model that neglects such metastable levels but includes HFS. The D1 fractional linear polarization shows a very small variation with the choice of atmospheric model, enhancing its suitability for solar magnetic field diagnostics. Tangled magnetic fields with strengths of tens of gauss reduce the linear polarization, and saturation is reached at roughly 300 G. Deterministic inclined magnetic fields produce a U/I profile and, if they have a significant longitudinal component, a V/I profile, whose modeling requires accounting for HFS and the Paschen–Back effect. Because of the overlap between HFS components, the magnetograph formula cannot be applied to infer the longitudinal magnetic field. Accurately modeling the D1 intensity and polarization requires an atomic system that includes the metastable levels and the HFS, the detailed spectral structure of the radiation field, the incomplete Paschen–Back regime for magnetic fields, and an accurate treatment of collisions.