Identifying plasma fractionation processes in the chromosphere using IRIS

David M. Long*, Deborah Baker, Andy S. H. To, Lidia van Driel-Gesztelyi, David H. Brooks, Marco Stangalini, Mariarita Murabito, Alexander W. James, Mihalis Mathioudakis, Paola Testa

*Corresponding author for this work

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The composition of the solar corona differs from that of the photosphere, with the plasma thought to fractionate in the solar chromosphere according to the first ionization potential (FIP) of the different elements. This produces a FIP bias, wherein elements with a low FIP are preferentially enhanced in the corona compared to their photospheric abundance, but direct observations of this process remain elusive. Here, we use a series of spectroscopic observations of active region AR 12759 as it transited the solar disk over a period of 6 days from 2020 April 2–7 taken using the Hinode Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer and Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) instruments to look for signatures of plasma fractionation in the solar chromosphere. Using the Si x/S x and Ca xiv/Ar xiv diagnostics, we find distinct differences between the FIP bias of the leading and following polarities of the active region. The widths of the IRIS Si iv lines exhibited clear differences between the leading and following polarity regions, indicating increased unresolved wave activity in the following polarity region compared to the leading polarity region, with the chromospheric velocities derived using the Mg ii lines exhibiting comparable, albeit much weaker, behavior. These results are consistent with plasma fractionation via resonant/nonresonant waves at different locations in the solar chromosphere following the ponderomotive force model, and indicate that IRIS could be used to further study this fundamental physical process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number63
Number of pages16
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Early online date08 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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