Aims: Studying the statistical properties of solar ultraviolet emission lines could provide information about the nature of small scale coronal heating. We expand on previous work to investigate these properties. We study whether the predicted statistical distribution of ion emission line intensities produced by a specified heating function is affected by the isoelectronic sequence to which the ion belongs, as well as the characteristic temperature at which it was formed (as found previously). Particular emphasis is placed on the strong resonance lines belonging to the lithium isoelectronic sequence. Predictions for emission lines observed by existing space-based UV spectrometers are given. The effects on the statistics of a line when observed with a wide-band imaging instrument rather than a spectrometer are also investigated.
Methods: We use a hydrodynamic model to simulate the UV emission of a loop system heated by nanoflares on small, spatially unresolved scales. We select lines emitted at similar temperatures but belonging to different isoelectronic groups: Fe IX and Ne VIII, Fe XII and Mg X, Fe XVIII, Fe XIX and Fe XXIV.
Results: Our simulations confirm previous results that almost all lines have an intensity distribution that follows a power-law, in a similar way to the heating function. However, only the high temperature lines best preserve the heating function's power law index (Fe XIX being the best ion in the case presented here). The Li isoelectronic lines have different statistical properties with respect to the lines from other sequences, due to the extended high temperature tail of their contribution functions. However, this is not the case for Fe XXIV which may be used as a diagnostic of the coronal heating function. We also show that the power-law index of the heating function is effectively preserved when a line is observed by a wide-band imaging instrument rather than a spectromenter.