Volume 480, Number 3, March IV 2008
|629 - 645
|Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)
|17 January 2008
Two-photon transitions in hydrogen and cosmological recombination
Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 1, 85741 Garching bei München, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
2 Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Profsoyuznaya 84/32, 117997 Moscow, Russia
Accepted: 22 November 2007
We study the two-photon process for the transitions and in hydrogen up to large n. For we provide simple analytic fitting formulae to describe the non-resonant part of the two-photon emission profiles. Combining these with the analytic form of the cascade-term yields a simple and accurate description of the full two-photon decay spectrum, which only involves a sum over a few intermediate states. We demonstrate that the cascade term naturally leads to a nearly Lorentzian shape of the two-photon profiles in the vicinity of the resonances. However, due to quantum-electrodynamical corrections, the two-photon emission spectra deviate significantly from the Lorentzian shape in the very distant wings of the resonances. We investigate up to which distance the two-photon profiles are close to a Lorentzian and discuss the role of the interference term. We then analyze how the deviation of the two-photon profiles from the Lorentzian shape affects the dynamics of cosmological hydrogen recombination. Since in this context the escape of photons from the Lyman-α resonance plays a crucial role, we concentrate on the two-photon corrections in the vicinity of the Lyman-α line. Our computations show that the changes in the ionization history due to the additional two-photon process from high shell () likely do not reach the percent-level. For conservative assumptions we find a correction at redshift . This is numerically similar to the result of another recent study; however, the physics leading to this conclusion is rather different. In particular, our calculations of the effective two-photon decay rates yield significantly different values, where the destructive interference of the resonant and non-resonant terms plays a crucial role in this context. We also show that the bulk of the corrections to the ionization history is only due to the 3s and 3d-states and that the higher states do not contribute significantly.
Key words: atomic processes / atomic data / radiation mechanisms: general / cosmology: theory / cosmic microwave background
© ESO, 2008
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