X-ray transmission and reflection through a Compton-thick medium via Monte-Carlo simulations

Citation:

Eikmann W, Wilms J, Smith RK, Lee JC. X-ray transmission and reflection through a Compton-thick medium via Monte-Carlo simulations, in Acta Polytechnica. Vol 54. ; 2014 :177-182.

Abstract:

The spectral shape of an X-ray source strongly depends on the amount and distribution of the surrounding material. The spectrum of a primary source which is located in an optically thin medium with respect to Compton scattering is mainly modified by photo absorption in the lower energy range and is almost unaltered above ~ 10 keV. This picture changes when the source is obscured by gas exceeding hydrogen column densities of ~ 1024cm−2. At this degree of absorption it is likely that photons are scattered at least twice before leaving the medium. The multiple scatterings lead to a lack of photons in the high energy range of the resulting spectrum as well as to an accumulation of photons at moderate energies forming the so-called Compton-bump. The shape of the fluorescent lines also changes since scattered line photons form several Compton-shoulders which are very prominent especially for Compton-thick sources. Using a Monte Carlo method, we demonstrate the importance of Compton scattering for high column densities. For that purpose, we compare our results with existing absorption models that do not consider Compton scattering. These calculations will be implemented in a prospective version of the tbabs absorption model including an analytic evaluation of the strength of the fluorescent lines.

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Last updated on 02/09/2018