Support Materials

Here are some pointers to support reading materials that may complement the lectures you will attend during the school. Beware that not all of them are free-access, thus we do not provide downloadable versions on this website.

Spectral line polarization

  • “Introduction to Spectropolarimetry” by José Carlos del Toro Iniesta, 2003, Cambridge University Press (

    This is an introductory textbook at physics graduate student level that takes the reader from the basic definition of polarization of light, through the derivation of the radiative transfer equation to its solution under the assumption of local thermodynamical equilibrium (LTE). It starts by reviewing the Stokes formalisms, the ways light propagates through anisotropic media and the basic optical devices that allow us to modify (and measure) the polarization of light. Then it goes on to describing the classical Zeeman effect, the radiative transfers equation in the presence of magnetic fields, some simple spectral diagnostics and more sophisticated spectral line inversions based on response functions.

  • "Solar Observations: Techniques and Interpretation" (1992 Cambridge University Press ISBN 0 521 40251 4)

    Published in 1992, this book was the product of the First Canary Islands Winter School of Astrophysics, edited by Francisco Sánchez, Manolo Collados and Manuel Vázquez. Its second chapter, entitled “Magnetic Field Measurements” by Egidio Landi Degl’Innocenti, is another introductory text to the polarization of light, the optical devices used to characterized it, radiative transfer equation in the presence of a magnetic field and the exploration of different solutions for use as magnetic field diagnostics in stellar atmospheres. Although not in print anymore, this book can still be found in some libraries at universities and research centers.

  • Polarization in Spectral Lines by Landi Degl'Innocenti and Landolfi, 2004, Springer (ISBN 978-1-4020-2415-3)

    This is probably the bible of spectopolarimetry. Comprehensive and fairly advanced.

  • Plasma Polarization Spectroscopy, 2008, Editors: Fujimoto, T., Iwamae, A., Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, (ISBN 978-3-540-73587-8)

    Chapter 12 of this book, "Astrophysical Plasmas" by Casini and Landi Degl'Innocenti covers atomic polarization and the Hanle effect.

  • A Gentle Introduction to Polarized Radiative Transfer, Rees, D. E.,1987, in "Numerical Radiative Transfer", ed. W. Kalkofen, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    This work provides a good introduction to the subject and some basic insight into more advanced treatments involving scattering and non-LTE polarized transfer.

  • The Generation and Transfer of Polarized Radiation in Stellar Atmospheres, Trujillo Bueno, J., 2003, ASPC, 288, 551

    This review provides a good introduction to the non-LTE problem of the 2nd kind.

  • Transfer of Line Radiation in a Magnetic Field,Jefferies, J., Lites, B. W., and Skumanich, A. 1989, , ApJ 343, pp.920-935.

  • "The Transfer of Spectral Line Radiation" by Cannon, C.J., 1985 Cambridge University Press (ISBN-13: 978-0521259958)

    Its first chapter presents an accessible description of the radiative transfer problem (for intensity only) and how the (non-polarized) radiative transfer equation is constructed in the general non-LTE case.

  • Stellar Atmospheres by Mihalas, D., 1970, W. H. Freeman and Company (ISBN 0-7167-0333-5)

    Classic text on radiative transfer.

  • A monograph on the discovery of the Zeeman effect by Jose Carlos del Toro Iniesta.

Optics and Instrumentation

  • Polarization of Light: From Basics to Instruments, Presentation by N. Manset, CFHT:

  • Principles of Optics
  • Born, M. and Wolf, E., 1980, New York: Pergamon.

    This is the classic text on optics and light.

  • Fundamentals of Optics by F. A. Jenkins & F. E. White 1957, Mc Graw-Hill, New York


  • “Inversion of the radiative transfer equation for polarized light” , Del Toro Iniesta, J.C. & Ruiz Cobo, B. Living Rev. Sol. Phys. (2016) 13: 4.

    This review, by José Carlos del Toro Iniesta and Basilio Ruiz Cobo, revisits the foundations of spectral line inversion techniques.

  • “Radiative Diagnostics in the Photosphere and the Chromosphere”, de la Cruz Rodríguez, J. & van Noort, M. Space Sci Rev (2017) 210: 109.

    This review, by Jaime de la Cruz Rodríguez and Michiel van Noort, presents an accessible overview of the polarized radiative transfer problem and some common spectral line inversion techniques, focusing on chromospheric diagnostics of magnetic fields.

  • “Inversion of Stokes Profiles”, Ruiz Cobo, B., Del Toro Iniesta, J.C., 1992, ApJ, 398, 375.

    Describes the original implementation of the SIR code.

  • “Advanced Forward Modeling and Inversion of Stokes Profiles Resulting from the Joint Action of the Hanle and Zeeman Effects”, Asensio Ramos, A., Trujillo Bueno, J., Landi Degl’Innocenti, E., 2008, ApJ, 683, 542.

    This article describes the original HAZEL code.