The Gaunt factor (or Kramers-Gaunt factor) is used as a multiplicative correction to the continuous absorption or emission results when calculated using classical physics techniques. In cases where classical physics provides a close approximation, the Gaunt factor can be set to 1.0. It varies from this value in cases where quantum mechanics becomes important.
The Gaunt factor was named after the physicist John Arthur Gaunt, based on his work on the quantum mechanics of continuous absorption. Gaunt used a 'g' function in his 1930 work, which Chandrasekhar named the 'Gaunt factor' in 1939. It is sometimes named the Kramers-Gaunt factor as Gaunt incorporated the work of Hendrik Anthony Kramers.
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- Garstang, R. H. (May 1993). "Gaunt and his Factor". Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society 25: 934. Bibcode:1993AAS...182.8104G.
- Chandrasekhar, Subrahmanyan (1958). "An introduction to the study of stellar structure". Astrophysical monographs. Courier Dover Publications. p. 262. ISBN 0-486-60413-6.
- Gaunt, J. A. (1930). "Continuous Absorption". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Containing Papers of a Mathematical or Physical Character 229 (670–680): 163–204. Bibcode:1930RSPTA.229..163G. doi:10.1098/rsta.1930.0005.
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