Aims: We analyzed effects of the bi-Maxwellian electron distribution representing electron temperature anisotropy along and across the magnetic field on the ionization and excitation equilibrium with consequences on the temperature diagnostics of the flare plasma.
Methods: The bi-Maxwellian energy distributions were calculated numerically. Synthetic X-ray line spectra of the bi-Maxwellian distributions were calculated using non-Maxwellian ionization, recombination, excitation and de-excitation rates.
Results: We found that the anisotropic bi-Maxwellian velocity distributions transform to the nonthermal energy distributions with a high-energy tail. Their maximum is shifted to lower energies and contains a higher number of the low-energy particles in comparison with the Maxwellian one. Increasing the deviation of the parameter p = T∥/T⊥ from 1, changes the shape of bi-Maxwellian distributions and ionization equilibrium, and relative line intensities also increase. The effects are more significant for the bi-Maxwellian distribution with T∥ > T⊥. Moreover, considering different acceleration mechanisms and collisional isotropization it is possible that the bi-Maxwellian distributions with high deviations from the Maxwellian distribution are more probable for those with p > 1 than for those with p < 1. Therefore, distributions with p > 1 can be much more easily diagnosed than those with p < 1. Furthermore, we compared the effects of the bi-Maxwellian distributions on the ionization equilibrium and temperature diagnostics with those for the κ-distributions obtained previously. We found that they are similar and at the present state it is difficult to distinguish between the bi-Maxwellian and κ-distributions from the line ratios.