PORTAL: Three-dimensional polarized (sub)millimeter line radiative transfer
Journal article, 2020
Context. Magnetic fields are important to the dynamics of many astrophysical processes and can typically be studied through polarization observations. Polarimetric interferometry capabilities of modern (sub)millimeter telescope facilities have made it possible to obtain detailed velocity resolved maps of molecular line polarization. To properly analyze these for the information they carry regarding the magnetic field, the development of adaptive three-dimensional polarized line radiative transfer models is necessary. Aims. We aim to develop an easy-to-use program to simulate the polarization maps of molecular and atomic (sub)millimeter lines in magnetized astrophysical regions, such as protostellar disks, circumstellar envelopes, or molecular clouds. Methods. By considering the local anisotropy of the radiation field as the only alignment mechanism, we can model the alignment of molecular or atomic species inside a regular line radiative transfer simulation by only making use of the converged output of this simulation. Calculations of the aligned molecular or atomic states can subsequently be used to ray trace the polarized maps of the three-dimensional simulation. Results. We present a three-dimensional radiative transfer code, POlarized Radiative Transfer Adapted to Lines (PORTAL), that can simulate the emergence of polarization in line emission through a magnetic field of arbitrary morphology. Our model can be used in stand-alone mode, assuming LTE excitation, but it is best used when processing the output of regular three-dimensional (nonpolarized) line radiative transfer modeling codes. We present the spectral polarization map of test cases of a collapsing sphere and protoplanetary disk for multiple three-dimensional magnetic field morphologies.
ISM: magnetic fields