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Astrophysical Lasers$
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Vladilen Letokhov and Sveneric Johansson

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199548279

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199548279.001.0001

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Elementary excitation processes in rarefied plasmas

Elementary excitation processes in rarefied plasmas

(p.51) 4 Elementary excitation processes in rarefied plasmas
Astrophysical Lasers

Vladilen Letokhov

Sveneric Johansson

Oxford University Press

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

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