Journal Article

Primordial magnetic fields and formation of molecular hydrogen

Shiv K. Sethi, Biman B. Nath and Kandaswamy Subramanian

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 387, issue 4, pages 1589-1596
Published in print July 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13302.x
Primordial magnetic fields and formation of molecular hydrogen

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We study the implications of primordial magnetic fields for the thermal and ionization history of the post-recombination era. In particular, we compute the effects of dissipation of primordial magnetic fields owing to ambipolar diffusion and decaying turbulence in the intergalactic medium (IGM) and the collapsing haloes, and compute the effects of the altered thermal and ionization history on the formation of molecular hydrogen. We show that, for magnetic field strengths in the range 2 × 10−10B0≲ 2 × 10−9G, the molecular hydrogen fraction in IGM and collapsing halo can increase by a factor of 5 to 1000 over the case with no magnetic fields. We discuss the implication of the increased molecular hydrogen fraction on the radiative transfer of ultraviolet photons and the formation of first structures in the universe.

Keywords: magnetic fields; MHD; molecular processes; cosmology: miscellaneous

Journal Article.  5503 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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