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CN excitation and electron densities in diffuse molecular clouds

Abstract : Utilizing previous work by the authors on the spin-coupled rotational cross-sections for electron-CN collisions, data for the associated rate coefficients are presented. Data on rotational, fine-structure and hyperfine-structure transition involving rotational levels up to N = 20 are computed for temperatures in the range 10-1000 K. Rates are calculated by combining Born-corrected R-matrix calculations with the infinite-order-sudden approximation. The dominant hyperfine transitions are those with ΔN = Δj = ΔF = 1. For dipole-allowed transitions, electron-impact rates are shown to exceed those for excitation of CN by para-H2(j = 0) by five orders of magnitude. The role of electron collisions in the excitation of CN in diffuse clouds, where local excitation competes with the cosmic microwave background photons, is considered. Radiative transfer calculations are performed and the results compared to observations. These comparisons suggest that electron density lies in the range n(e) ∼ 0.01-0.06 cm-3 for typical physical conditions present in diffuse clouds.
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Stephen Harrison, Alexandre Faure, Jonathan Tennyson. CN excitation and electron densities in diffuse molecular clouds. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy P - Oxford Open Option A, 2013, 435, pp.3541-3546. ⟨10.1093/mnras/stt1544⟩. ⟨insu-03614204⟩

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