Iron-manganese-neon spectrum
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Sven Huldt
Henrik Hartman
Hampus Nilsson

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Background

Atomic Astrophysics is a new research field at the Faculty of Sciences, Lund University, located at Lund Observatory. The scientific research and staff have their roots and tradition in the former Division of Atomic Spectroscopy, Department of Physics, with a long history from the days of Janne Rydberg at the turn of the 19th century. Rydberg’s explanation of spectral line series contributed significantly to Bohr’s model of the atom.

At the same time as atomic spectroscopy and atomic structure are central fields in our scientific research the interaction with and application to astrophysics constitute the major driving force. This means that the successful research program in laboratory spectroscopy built up by Bengt Edlén at Lund University will continue in the form of Atomic Astrophysics. Very early in his career Edlén applied his basic research on atomic structure to astrophysics, and his most imortant contribution was the explanation of the “forbidden lines” in the solar corona. His successor, Indrek Martinson, broadened the program by introducing beam-foil spectroscopy and fusion related research.

Around 1985 Sveneric Johansson started interactive collaborations with astrophysicists and a new group, including many new graduate students, was formed in the 1990’s. They provided atomic data for David Leckrone’s, NASA, ambitious program on the Hubble Space Telescope, and his collaborator, Glenn Wahlgren, joined the group in Lund in 1994. The laboratory work was led by Ulf Litzén, and most data came from a new Fourier transform spectrometer. Vladilen Letokhov, a world-leading laser physicist, joined the group as the “Tage Erlander Professor 2000” and he has since then been a guest professor in our division. Spectroscopy can also be used to study atomic processes in fluorescence tubes in order to understand and improve their properties. An activity, which includes both basic research and industrial applications, was initiated in our division 2000 by Sven Huldt. In 2005 a new Fourier transform spectrometer was purchased optimized for infrared wavelengths.




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