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Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) play a vital role in the discrimination of different cosmological models. These events have been shown to be standardizable based on properties of their light curves during the early-time photospheric phase. However, the distribution of types of progenitor system, the explosion trigger, and the physics of the explosion are still an active topic of discussion. The details of the progenitors and explosion may provide insight into the variation seen in Type Ia supernova light curves and spectra, and therefore, allow for additional methods of standardization among the group. Late-time near-infrared spectral observations for SNe Ia show numerous strong emission features of forbidden line transitions of cobalt and iron, tracing the central distribution of iron-group burning products. As the spectrum ages, the cobalt features fade as expected from the decay of 56Co to 56Fe. This work will show that the strong and isolated [Fe II] emission line at 1.644 μm provides a unique tool to analyze near-infrared spectra of SNe Ia. Several new methods of analysis will be demonstrated to determine some of the initial conditions of the system. The initial central density, ρc, and the extent of mixing in the central regions of the explosion have signatures in the line profiles of late-time spectra. An embedded magnetic field, B, of the white dwarf can be determined using the evolution of the lines profiles. Currently magnetic field effects are not included in the hydrodynamics and radiation transport of simulations of SNe Ia. Normalization of spectra to the 1.644 μm line allows separation of features produced by stable versus unstable isotopes of iron group elements. Implications for potential progenitor systems, explosion mechanisms, and the origins and morphology of magnetic fields in SNe Ia, in addition to limitations of the method, are discussed. Observations of the late-time near-infrared emission spectrum at multiple epochs allow for the first ever analysis of the evolution of the 1.644 μm line profile for a SNe Ia. These late-time data are really pushing the observational limits of current ground-based telescopes in terms of a dim target and low signal-to-noise. The new analysis method presented in this work is used on observations of SN 2005df to constrain the initial conditions of those systems. Finally, the details and limitations of the method are presented for use with SN 2014J and future time-series observations, which will dramatically increase in number and signal-to-noise with the next-generation of telescopes and missions.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Physics in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Peter Hoeflich, Professor Directing Dissertation; Eric Chicken, University Representative; David Collins, Committee Member; Harrison Prosper, Committee Member; Mark Riley, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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