ionization correction factor (ICF)
karvand-e aršâyeš-e yoneš
Fr.: facteur de correction d'ionisation
A quantity used in studies of → emission nebulae to convert the → ionic abundance of a given chemical element to its total → elemental abundance. The elemental abundance of an element relative to hydrogen is given by the sum of abundances of all its ions. In practice, not all the ionization stages are observed. One must therefore correct for unobserved stages using ICFs. A common way to do this was to rely on → ionization potential considerations. However, → photoionization models show that such simple relations do not necessarily hold. Hence, ICFs based on grids of photoionization models are more reliable. Nevertheless here also care should be taken for several reasons: the atomic physics is not well known yet, the ionization structure of a nebula depends on the spectral energy distribution of the stellar radiation field, which differs from one model to another, and the density structure of real nebulae is more complicated than that of idealized models (see, e.g., Stasińska, 2002, astro-ph/0207500, and references therein).