Radiative Transfer Reconsidered as a Quantum Kinetic Theory Problem
We revisit the radiative transfer theory from first principles approach, inspired from quantum kinetic theory. The radiation field is described within the second quantization formalism. A master equation for the radiation density operator is derived and transformed into a balance relation in the phase space, which involves nonlocal terms owing to radiation coherence. In a perturbative framework, we focus on the lowest order term in $\hbar$-expansion and show that the radiation coherence results in an alteration of the photon group velocity. An application to the formation of hydrogen lines in stellar atmospheres is performed as an illustration.
Volume 41, 2020
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