Inclusion of Electron Interactions by Rate Equations in Chemical Models

Laurence Campbell, Dale L. Muccignat, Michael Brunger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


The concept of treating subranges of the electron energy spectrum as species in chemical models is investigated. This is intended to facilitate simple modification of chemical models by incorporating the electron interactions as additional rate equations. It is anticipated that this embedding of fine details of the energy dependence of the electron interactions into rate equations will yield an improvement in computational efficiency compared to other methods. It will be applicable in situations where the electron density is low enough that the electron interactions with chemical species are significant compared to electron–electron interactions. A target application is the simulation of electron processes in the D-region of the Earth’s atmosphere, but it is anticipated that the method would be useful in other areas, including enhancement of Monte Carlo simulation of electron–liquid interactions and simulations of chemical reactions and radical generation induced by electrons and positrons in biomolecular systems. The aim here is to investigate the accuracy and practicality of the method. In particular, energy must be conserved, while the number of subranges should be small to reduce computation time and their distribution should be logarithmic in order to represent processes over a wide range of electron energies. The method is applied here to the interaction by inelastic and superelastic collisions of electrons with a gas of molecules with only one excited vibrational level. While this is unphysical, it allows the method to be validated by checking for accuracy, energy conservation, maintenance of equilibrium and evolution of a Maxwellian electron spectrum
Original languageEnglish
Article number62
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • electron scattering
  • chemical model
  • simulation
  • rate equations
  • electron energy
  • distribution


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