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Title: The ortho:para ratio of H{sub 3}{sup +} in laboratory and astrophysical plasmas

The discovery of H{sub 3}{sup +} in the diffuse interstellar medium has dramatically changed our view of the cosmic-ray ionization rate in diffuse molecular clouds. However, another surprise has been that the ortho:para ratio of H{sub 3}{sup +} in these clouds is inconsistent with the temperature derived from the excitation of H{sub 2}, the dominant species in these clouds. In an effort to understand this discrepancy, we have embarked on an experimental program to measure the nuclear spin dependence of the dissociative electron recombination rate of H{sub 3}{sup +} using the CRYRING and TSR ion storage rings. We have also performed the first measurements of the reaction H{sub 3}{sup +}+H{sub 2}→H{sub 2}+H{sub 3}{sup +} below room temperature. This reaction is likely the most common bimolecular reaction in the universe, and plays an important role in interconverting ortho- and para-H{sub 3}{sup +}. Finally, we have constructed a steady-state chemical model for diffuse clouds, which takes into account the spin-dependence of the formation of H{sub 3}{sup +}, its electron recombination, and its reaction with H{sub 2}. We find that the ortho:para ratio of H{sub 3}{sup +} in diffuse clouds is likely governed by a competition between dissociative recombination and thermalization by reactivemore » collisions.« less
Authors:
; ; ;  [1]
  1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22390914
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: AIP Conference Proceedings; Journal Volume: 1642; Journal Issue: 1; Conference: ICCMSE-2010: International Conference of Computational Methods in Sciences and Engineering 2010, Kos (Greece), 3-8 Oct 2010; Other Information: (c) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
74 ATOMIC AND MOLECULAR PHYSICS; ASTROPHYSICS; COSMIC RADIATION; ELECTRONS; EXCITATION; HYDROGEN; HYDROGEN IONS 3 PLUS; INTERSTELLAR SPACE; IONIZATION; ION-MOLECULE COLLISIONS; PLASMA; RECOMBINATION; SPIN; STEADY-STATE CONDITIONS; THERMALIZATION