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The kinetic theory of H2 dissociation
Lepp, S.; Shull, J. M.
AA(Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics; Colorado, University, Boulder, CO), AB(Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics; Colorado, University, Boulder, CO)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 270, July 15, 1983, p. 578-582. (ApJ Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Gas Dissociation, Hydrogen Clouds, Interstellar Matter, Kinetic Theory, Molecular Clouds, Molecular Collisions, Molecular Excitation
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Collisional dissociation of interstellar molecular hydrogen may be suppressed at low densities by radiative stabilization of high vibrational level populations. The rate coefficient for H2 dissociation is computed with a master equation eigenvalue approach, including collisional excitation and dissociation from all 15 vibrational levels. The rates are sensitive to vibrational 'ladder climbing', multiquantum vibrational excitations, and collisional dissociation from low vibrational levels. Including these effects, it is found that the low-density dissociation rate at 4500 K is only suppressed by a factor of a thousand from the high-density limit. Analytic fits to the dissociation and radiative cooling rates are provided over a range of densities and temperatures.

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