Volume 457, Number 1, October I 2006
|Page(s)||167 - 170|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||12 September 2006|
Effective grain surface area in the formation of molecular hydrogen in interstellar clouds
S. N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Salt Lake, Kolkata, 700098, India e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Centre for Space Physics, Chalantika 43, Garia Station Rd., Kolkata, 700084, India e-mail: [ankan;acharyya]@csp.res.in
3 Maharaja Manindra Chandra College, 20 Ramkanta Bose Street, Kolkata, 700003, India e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 6 June 2006
Aims.In interstellar clouds, molecular hydrogens are formed from atomic hydrogen on grain surfaces. An atomic hydrogen hops around until it finds another one with which it combines. This necessarily implies that the average recombination time, or equivalently, the effective grain surface area depends on the relative numbers of atomic hydrogen influx rate and the number of sites on the grain. Our aim is to discover this dependency.
Methods.We perform a numerical simulation to study the recombination of hydrogen on grain surfaces in a variety of cloud conditions. We use a square lattice (with a periodic boundary condition) of various sizes on two types of grains, namely, amorphous carbon and olivine.
Results.We find that the steady state results of our simulation match very well with those obtained from a simpler analytical considerations provided the “effective” grain surface area is written as ~ , where S is the actual physical grain area and α is a function of the flux of atomic hydrogen, which is determined from our simulation. We carry out the simulation for various astrophysically relevant accretion rates. For high accretion rates, small grains tend to become partly saturated with H and H2, and the subsequent accretion will be partly inhibited. For very low accretion rates, the number of sites to be swept before a molecular hydrogen can form is too large compared to the actual number of sites on the grain, implying that α is greater than unity.
Key words: ISM: molecules / astrochemistry / methods: numerical
© ESO, 2006
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