Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2011 James MacArthur. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Physics & Astronomy Department

First Advisor

David H. Cohen


A curve of growth analysis was applied to photoionized neon absorption spectra from gas cell experiments at Sandia National Laboratory's Z facility. The gas cell experiments, designed to photoionize neon up to helium and hydrogen-like species, produce a photoionized plasma comparable to astrophysical plasmas measured in high mass X-ray binaries or Seyfert 2 galaxies. A proper characterization of the photoionized plasma in the gas cell can be used to benchmark photoionization codes like Cloudy and XSTAR used by the astrophysics community. The curve of growth analysis of absorption spectra from neon was applied to calculate the charge state distribution of the neon. The analysis, performed using a Voigt line-profile with the 1s² → 1snp line series on Ne IX, shows that additional line broadening mechanisms are present. A preliminary analysis of additional line broadening from the Stark effect was also performed.