Ref: ASTROimport-237

H, He-like recombination spectra - I. l-changing collisions for hydrogen

Guzmán, F. ; Badnell, N. R. ; Williams, R. J. R. ; van Hoof, P. A. M. ; Chatzikos, M. ; Ferland, G. J.

published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 459, pp. 3498-3504 (2016)

Abstract: Hydrogen and helium emission lines in nebulae form by radiative recombination. This is a simple process which, in principle, can be described to very high precision. Ratios of He I and H I emission lines can be used to measure the He+/H+ abundance ratio to the same precision as the recombination rate coefficients. This paper investigates the controversy over the correct theory to describe dipole l-changing collisions (nl → nl' = l ± 1) between energy-degenerate states within an n-shell. The work of Pengelly Seaton has, for half-a-century, been considered the definitive study which `solved' the problem. Recent work by Vrinceanu et al. recommended the use of rate coefficients from a semiclassical approximation which are nearly an order of magnitude smaller than those of Pengelly Seaton, with the result that significantly higher densities are needed for the nl populations to come into local thermodynamic equilibrium. Here, we compare predicted H I emissivities from the two works and find widespread differences, of up to ˜10 per cent. This far exceeds the 1 per cent precision required to obtain the primordial He/H abundance ratio from observations so as to constrain big bang cosmologies. We recommend using the rate coefficients of Pengelly Seaton for l-changing collisions, to describe the H recombination spectrum, based-on their quantum mechanical representation of the long-range dipole interaction.

DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stw893
Links: link

The record appears in these collections:
Royal Observatory of Belgium > Astronomy & Astrophysics
Science Articles > Peer Reviewed Articles

 Record created 2016-07-01, last modified 2016-07-01