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Effect of excited states of atomic oxygen ions on the reaction rates and thermal balance in theF-region

Planetary and Space Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0032-0633(73)90002-0


Abstract A recent paper by Rutherford and Vroom (1971) showed that the charge transfer reaction of the metastable O +( 2D) with N 2 was significantly faster than the ground state, O +( 4S), reaction. Similarly, Stebbings et al. (1966) showed that the charge transfer with O 2 was at least an order of magnitude greater for the excited O +( 2D) than the ground state atomic oxygen ion. Thus a substantial portion of the atomic oxygen ions in the O +( 2D) state will provide an important source of N 2 + and O 2 + which will have the effect of increasing the electron-ion recombination rate. The excited states of atomic oxygen ions can also undergo de-excitation by means of radiative transitions or collisional electron deactivation. The electron deactivation provides the electrons with several eV of energy for each collision, and thus provides a highly efficient heating source for the ambient electrons. This paper presents the reaction rates for the metastable states of O + and other relevant data needed to calculate the electron-ion recombination rate and the ambient electron heating rate. A comparison is made to indicate how much effect the excited states of O + have on these two processes in the F-region.

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