Nonequilibrium Ionization Effects on Coronal Plasma Diagnostics and Elemental Abundance Measurements
Plasma diagnostics and elemental abundance measurements are crucial to help us understand the formation and dynamics of the solar wind. Here we use a theoretical solar wind model to study the effect of nonequilibrium ionization (NEI) on plasma diagnostic techniques applied to line intensities emitted by the fast solar wind. We find that NEI almost always changes the spectral line intensities with up to 120% difference for the lighter elements and for higher charge states of Fe even below 1.5 solar radii (R s ). The measured plasma density, temperature, and differential emission measure are only slightly affected by NEI. However, NEI significantly affects the first-ionization potential (FIP) bias and abundance ratio measurements, producing an error of up to a factor 4 at 1.5 R s for the Mg-to-Ne, Fe-to-S, and Ar-to-Fe ratios when EI is assumed. We conclude that it is very important to consider the NEI effect when spectral line intensities are synthesized and the FIP bias and elemental abundance are measured.