Elementary excitation processes in rarefied plasmas

Vladilen Letokhov and Sveneric Johansson

in Astrophysical Lasers

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780199548279
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720512 | DOI:
 Elementary excitation processes in rarefied plasmas

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An atom (ion) in a rarefied astrophysical plasma near a hot (blue) star takes part in a chain of radiative and collisional processes initiated by the UV radiation from the star. The main constituents of an astrophysical plasma are hydrogen (90% of the atoms) and helium (10%) with the ionization potentials I(H) = 13.6 eV and I(He) = 24.6 eV, respectively. This chapter focuses on processes that involve the hydrogen atom. Topics discussed include photoionization of atoms, recombination, electron excitation and ionization, total and local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE), non-LTE astrophysical media, and photoselective excitation.

Keywords: photoionization; electron excitation; thermodynamic equilibrium; photoselective excitation

Chapter.  3769 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

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