Numerical investigations of potential systematic uncertainties in iron opacity measurements at solar interior temperatures
AbstractIron opacity calculations presently disagree with measurements at an electron temperature of ∼180–195 eV and an electron density of (2–4)×1022cm−3, conditions similar to those at the base of the solar convection zone. The measurements use x rays to volumetrically heat a thin iron sample that is tamped with low-Z materials. The opacity is inferred from spectrally resolved x-ray transmission measurements. Plasma self-emission, tamper attenuation, and temporal and spatial gradients can all potentially cause systematic errors in the measured opacity spectra. In this article we quantitatively evaluate these potential errors with numerical investigations. The analysis exploits computer simulations that were previously found to reproduce the experimentally measured plasma conditions. The simulations, combined with a spectral synthesis model, enable evaluations of individual and combined potential errors in order to estimate their potential effects on the opacity measurement. The results show that the errors considered here do not account for the previously observed model-data discrepancies.