Volume 655, November 2021
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Section||Numerical methods and codes|
|Published online||25 November 2021|
Numerical solutions to linear transfer problems of polarized radiation
I. Algebraic formulation and stationary iterative methods
Istituto Ricerche Solari (IRSOL), Università della Svizzera italiana (USI), 6605 Locarno-Monti, Switzerland
2 Euler Institute, Università della Svizzera italiana (USI), 6900 Lugano, Switzerland
3 Leibniz-Institut für Sonnenphysik (KIS), 79104 Freiburg i. Br., Germany
Accepted: 9 August 2021
Context. The numerical modeling of the generation and transfer of polarized radiation is a key task in solar and stellar physics research and has led to a relevant class of discrete problems that can be reframed as linear systems. In order to solve such problems, it is common to rely on efficient stationary iterative methods. However, the convergence properties of these methods are problem-dependent, and a rigorous investigation of their convergence conditions, when applied to transfer problems of polarized radiation, is still lacking.
Aims. After summarizing the most widely employed iterative methods used in the numerical transfer of polarized radiation, this article aims to clarify how the convergence of these methods depends on different design elements, such as the choice of the formal solver, the discretization of the problem, or the use of damping factors. The main goal is to highlight advantages and disadvantages of the different iterative methods in terms of stability and rate of convergence.
Methods. We first introduce an algebraic formulation of the radiative transfer problem. This formulation allows us to explicitly assemble the iteration matrices arising from different stationary iterative methods, compute their spectral radii and derive their convergence rates, and test the impact of different discretization settings, problem parameters, and damping factors.
Results. Numerical analysis shows that the choice of the formal solver significantly affects, and can even prevent, the convergence of an iterative method. Moreover, the use of a suitable damping factor can both enforce stability and increase the convergence rate.
Conclusions. The general methodology used in this article, based on a fully algebraic formulation of linear transfer problems of polarized radiation, provides useful estimates of the convergence rates of various iterative schemes. Additionally, it can lead to novel solution approaches as well as analyses for a wider range of settings, including the unpolarized case.
Key words: radiative transfer / methods: numerical / Sun: atmosphere / stars: atmospheres / polarization
© ESO 2021
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