||Theoretical Schemes for the Interpretation of Solar Polarimetric
Observations: An Overview and Some New Ideas
||489, Solar Polarization 7
||Landi Degl'Innocenti, E.; Belluzzi, L.
||The theoretical scheme based on the density matrix formalism, and
self-consistently derived from the principles of Quantum Electrodynamics, is
presently one of the most solid frameworks for the interpretation of solar
This scheme has been highly successful, mainly for the interpretation of
polarimetric signals that can be described in the so-called limit of
complete frequency redistribution (CRD).
However, it suffers from the severe limitation that partial frequency
redistribution (PRD) effects cannot be accounted for.
The metalevel theory can handle PRD effects, but all the attempts for its
generalization to account consistently for collisions and lower-level
coherences have failed.
The redistribution matrix approach is very suitable for taking PRD
effects into account.
However, it can consistently describe only two-level atoms with unpolarized
New heuristic approaches have been proposed for treating two-term atoms, but
they are based on rather crude approximations and their validity and physical
consistency are far from being firmly established.
Some few reflections that may lead to the establishment of a self-consistent
set of equations, fully derived from first principles, are put forward.
These reflections are based on the introduction of the Fourier transform of
the density matrix.