Radiative Transfer

  • Egidio Landi Degl’Innocenti
Part of the UNITEXT for Physics book series (UNITEXTPH)


The radiation that propagates in an extended medium is subject to continuous emission and absorption processes that modify its intensity and spectral distribution. These phenomena are governed by the equation of radiative transfer that we have formally obtained in Chap.  11 from the principles of quantum electrodynamics. By solving this equation, it is possible to relate the observed properties of the radiation emerging from an extended medium with the intrinsic properties of the plasma responsible for its emission. In this chapter, we explore this issue by analysing in detail the prototype case for which the theory of radiative transfer was developed, namely the case of stellar atmospheres. The considerations presented here can be easily extended to deal with specific problems encountered in the analysis of the propagation of radiation in non-astrophysical environments, such as laboratory plasmas or the Earth’s atmosphere.


Radiative Transfer Radiation Field Optical Depth Transfer Equation Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Egidio Landi Degl’Innocenti
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Fisica e AstronomiaUniversità degli Studi di FirenzeFlorenceItaly

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