We have calculated a grid of more than 700 model atmospheres valid for a wide range of parameters encompassing the coolest known M dwarfs, M subdwarfs, and brown dwarf candidates: 1500 less than or equal to T(sub eff) less than or equal to 4000 K, 3.5 less than or equal to log g less than or equal to 5.5, and -4.0 less than or equal to (M/H) less than or equal to +0.5. Our equation of state includes 105 molecules and up to 27 ionization stages of 39 elements. In the calculations of the base grid of model atmospheres presented here, we include over 300 molecular bands of four molecules (TiO, VO, CaH, FeH) in the JOLA approximation, the water opacity of Ludwig (1971), collision-induced opacities, b-f and f-f atomic processes, as well as about 2 million spectral lines selected from a list with more than 42 million atomic and 24 million molecular (H2, CH, NH, OH, MgH, SiH, C2, CN, CO, SiO) lines. High-resolution synthetic spectra are obtained using an opacity sampling method. The model atmospheres and spectra are calculated with the generalized stellar atmosphere code PHOENIX, assuming LTE, plane-parallel geometry, energy (radiative plus convective) conservation, and hydrostatic equilibrium. The model spectra give close agreement with observations of M dwarfs across a wide spectral range from the blue to the near-IR, with one notable exception: the fit to the water bands. We discuss several practical applications of our model grid, e.g., broadband colors derived from the synthetic spectra. In light of current efforts to identify genuine brown dwarfs, we also show how low-resolution spectra of cool dwarfs vary with surface gravity, and how the high-regulation line profile of the Li I resonance doublet depends on the Li abundance.
The Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X); 445; 1; p. 433-450