M. Goto and T. Fujimoto


Collisional-radiative Model for Neutral Helium in Plasma: Excitation Cross Section and Singlet-triplet Wavefunction Mixing

Date of publication:

Oct. 1997

Key words:

helium, collisional-radiative model, wavefunction mixing, excitation cross section, l-changing collision, proton impacts


We have revised the collisional-radiative (CR) model code of neutral helium (T. Fujimoto, JQSRT 21, 1979). The spin-orbit interaction gives rise to mixing of the wavefunctions of the singlet and triplet states. The degree of the mixing depends on the magnetic field, and at the field strength of the level-anticrossings complete mixing, or complete breakdown of the L-S coupling scheme, occurs. We have approximately incorporated this effect into the code. We have reviewed the excitation cross section data for electron impacts. For transitions starting from the ground state, the recent assessment by the group led by Dr. de Heer is judged satisfactory. For transitions from the metastable levels the assessment by the same group appears rather conservative; there remains a question about the cross section values near the threshold. For transitions between different-l Ievels within the same multiplicity and same n, a semi-empirical formula based on the Born cross section gives a good agreement with experiment. Proton impacts are also considered for these transitions. We compare the new cross sections with those used in the original version. These cross sections for transitions starting from the metastable levels are fitted by analytical formulas and the parameter values are given. We also give parameter values for the excitation rate coefficient for these transitions as well as for transitions starting from the ground state. With all the above revisions incorporated into the CR model code, we have calculated the energy loss rates and the line intensity ratios for the purpose of plasma diagnostics, where the effect of a magnetic field is noted. The calculated population distribution over excited levels are compared with experiment, and a tentative conclusion is drawn concerning the excitation cross section from the metastable level.

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