Rydberg States of H3and HeH as Potential Coolants for Primordial Star Formation

Gokul Kannan, Jeremy R. Chien, Anthony J. Benjamin, Niranjan Bhatia, Richard J. Saykally

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Current theory and measurements establish the age of the universe as ca. 13.8 billion years. For the first several hundred million years of its existence, it was a dark, opaque void. After that, the hydrogen atoms comprising most of the "ordinary"matter began to condense and ionize, eventually forming the first stars that would illuminate the sky. Details of how these "primordial"stars formed have been widely debated, but remain elusive. A central issue in this process is the mechanism by which the primordial gas (mainly hydrogen and helium atoms) collected via the action of dark matter cooled and further accreted to fusion densities. Current models invoke collisional excitation of H2 molecular rotations and subsequent radiative rotational transitions allowed by the weak molecular quadrupole moment. In this work, we review the salient considerations and present some new ideas, based on recent spectroscopic observations of neutral H3 Rydberg electronic state emission in the mid-infrared region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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