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An accurate set of H3O+ - H2 collisional rate coefficients for non-LTE modelling of warm interstellar clouds

Abstract : Hydronium (H3O+) was first detected in 1986 in interstellar molecular clouds. It was reported in many galactic diffuse and dense regions, as well as in extragalactic sources. H3O+ plays a major role both in interstellar oxygen and water chemistry. However, despite the large number of H3O+ observations, its collisional excitation was investigated only partially. In the present work we study the state-to-state rotational de-excitation of ortho- and para-H3O+ in collisions both with ortho- and para-H2. The cross sections are calculated within the close-coupling formalism using a highly accurate potential energy surface developed for this system. The rate coefficients are computed up to 300 K kinetic temperature. Transitions between the lowest 21 rotation-inversion states were studied for para-H3O+, and the lowest 11 states for ortho-H3O+, i.e. all levels with rotational energies below 430 K (~300 cm-1) are considered (up to j ≤ 5). In order to estimate the impact of the new rate coefficients on the astrophysical models for H3O+, radiative transfer calculations were also carried out. We have examined how the new collisional data affect the line intensities with respect to older data previously used for the interpretation of observations. By analysing all detected transitions we find that our new, accurate rate coefficients have a significant impact (typically within a factor of 2) on radiation temperatures, allowing more accurate estimation of column densities and relative abundances of hydronium, especially in warm molecular clouds, paving the path towards better interpretation of interstellar water and oxygen chemistry.
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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-03860255
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Submitted on : Friday, November 18, 2022 - 3:24:57 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, November 20, 2022 - 3:13:43 AM

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Sándor Demes, François Lique, Alexandre Faure, Floris F. S. van der Tak. An accurate set of H3O+ - H2 collisional rate coefficients for non-LTE modelling of warm interstellar clouds. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2022, ⟨10.1093/mnras/stac3221⟩. ⟨insu-03860255⟩

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