AAS 206th Meeting, 29 May - 2 June 2005
Session 31 Highlights in Laboratory Astrophysics
Topical Session, Wednesday, 8:30-10:00am, 10:45am-12:30pm, 2:30-4:00pm, 4:15-6:00pm, June 1, 2005, 102 D

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[31.21] New Charge Exchange Calculations for Lowly-Charged Ions

P. C. Stancil (University of Georgia)

The process of charge exchange, which occurs during the collision of an ion with a neutral species, is important in a variety of astrophysical and atmospheric environments. It can have an influence on the ionization and thermal balances of the plasma and may also contribute to the emission spectrum. The charge exchange of multiply-charged ions (q>2) usually proceeds at a fast rate with rate coefficients typically of 10-10 to 10-9 cm3s-1. Therefore, highly-charged ions, which are created in UV or x-ray ionized gas, quickly recombine to smaller charges. However, the rate coefficients for singly- and doubly-charged ions can vary over five orders of magnitude depending on the ion species, the neutral target, and the temperature. In particular, the rate coefficients depend sensitively on the dominant mechanism which may be due to radial, rotational, radiative, or spin-orbit coupling and the corresponding quasi-molecular curves can be very complicated. Measurements of such processes are complicated by metastable contamination and uncertainties in target purity and estimates of empirical values inferred from astrophysical modeling are typically suspect. Therefore, the state of knowledge of lowly-charged electron transfer processes is generally poor, but these reactions can be critical in determining the state of the plasma. If, for example, the rate coefficient for a q=2 ion is very small, the process would result in a bottle-neck in the recombination cascade from higer charges. In an effort to address these problems, quantum-mechanical calculations have been carried out for a number of singly- and doubly-charged ions and benchmarked to measurements when available. I will present a summary of these results which reveal significant differences from values adopted in rate coefficient compilations used by various modeling packages.

This work was performed in collaboration with L. B. Zhao, C. Y. Lin, J. P. Gu, H. P. Liebermann, R. J. Buenker, and M. Kimura. Support from NASA grant NAG5-11453 is gratefully acknowledged.

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