Volume 635, March 2020
|Number of page(s)||16|
|Section||Numerical methods and codes|
|Published online||24 March 2020|
Unbiased Monte Carlo continuum radiative transfer in optically thick regions
University of Kiel, Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics, Leibnizstrasse 15, 24118 Kiel, Germany
Accepted: 11 February 2020
Radiative transfer describes the propagation of electromagnetic radiation through an interacting medium. This process is often simulated by the use of the Monte Carlo method, which involves the probabilistic determination and tracking of simulated photon packages. In the regime of high optical depths, this approach encounters difficulties since a proper representation of the various physical processes can only be achieved by considering high numbers of simulated photon packages. As a consequence, the demand for computation time rises accordingly and thus practically puts a limit on the optical depth of models that can be simulated. Here we present a method that aims to solve the problem of high optical depths in dusty media, which relies solely on the use of unbiased Monte Carlo radiative transfer. For that end, we identified and precalculated repeatedly occuring and simulated processes, stored their outcome in a multidimensional cumulative distribution function, and immediately replaced the basic Monte Carlo transfer during a simulation by that outcome. During the precalculation, we generated emission spectra as well as deposited energy distributions of photon packages traveling from the center of a sphere to its rim. We carried out a performance test of the method to confirm its validity and gain a boost in computation speed by up to three orders of magnitude. We then applied the method to a simple model of a viscously heated circumstellar disk, and we discuss the necessity of finding a solution for the optical depth problem with regard to a proper temperature calculation. We find that the impact of an incorrect treatment of photon packages in highly optically thick regions extents even to optically thin regions, thus, changing the overall observational appearance of the disk.
Key words: methods: numerical / radiative transfer / scattering / polarization / protoplanetary disks
© ESO 2020
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