H and He features in photospheric spectra have rarely been used to constrain the structure of Type IIb/Ib/Ic supernovae (SNe IIb/Ib/Ic). The lines have to be modelled with a detailed non-local-thermodynamic-equilibrium (NLTE) treatment, including effects uncommon in stars. Once this is done, however, one obtains valuable hints on the characteristics of progenitors and explosions (composition, explosion energy, . . .). We have extended a radiative transfer code to compute synthetic spectra of SNe IIb, Ib and Ic. Here, we discuss our first larger set of models, focusing on the question: How much H/He can be hidden (i.e. remain undetected in photospheric spectra) in SNe Ib/Ic? For the SNe studied (relatively low Mej = 1. . .3 M⊙), we find a limit of MHe ≲ 0.1 M⊙ in SNe Ic (no unambiguous He lines). Stellar evolution models for single stars normally always yield higher masses. We suggest that low- or moderate-mass SNe Ic result from efficient envelope stripping in binaries. We propose similar studies on H/He in high-mass and extremely aspherical SNe, and observations covering the region of He I λ 20581.
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