Aims: We investigate statistical equilibrium of Cr in the atmospheres of late-type stars to ascertain whether the systematic abundance discrepancy between Cr I and Cr II lines, as often found in previous work, is due to deviations from local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE). Furthermore, we attempt to interpret the Non-LTE (NLTE) trend of [Cr/Fe] with [Fe/H] using chemical evolution models for the solar neighborhood.
Methods: NLTE calculations are performed for the model of the Cr atom, comprising 340 levels and 6806 transitions in total. We use the quantum-mechanical photoionization cross-sections of Nahar (2009) and investigate the sensitivity of the model to uncertain cross-sections for H I collisions. NLTE line formation is performed for the MAFAGS-ODF model atmospheres of the Sun and 10 metal-poor stars with -3.2 < [Fe/H] < -0.5, and Cr abundances are derived by comparing the synthetic and observed flux spectra.
Results: We achieve good ionization equilibrium of Cr for models with different stellar parameters, if inelastic collisions with H I atoms are neglected. The solar NLTE abundance based on Cr I lines is 5.74 dex with σ = 0.05 dex, which is ~0.1 dex higher than the LTE abundance. For the metal-poor stars, the NLTE abundance corrections to Cr I lines range from +0.3 to +0.5 dex. The resulting [Cr/Fe] ratio is roughly solar for the range of metallicities analyzed here, which is consistent with current views on the production of these iron peak elements in supernovae.
Conclusions: The tendency of Cr to become deficient with respect to Fe in metal-poor stars is an artifact caused by the neglect of NLTE effects in the line formation of Cr i, and has no relation to any peculiar physical conditions in the Galactic ISM or deficiencies of nucleosynthesis theory.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- November 2010
- line: formation;
- line: profiles;
- Sun: abundances;
- stars: abundances;
- nuclear reactions;
- Galaxy: evolution;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- 14 pages, 13 figures, to be published in A&