Role of excited N2 in the production of nitric oxide

L. Campbell, D. C. Cartwright, M. J. Brunger

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    Excited N2 plays a role in a number of atmospheric processes, including auroral and dayglow emissions, chemical reactions, recombination of free electrons, and the production of nitric oxide. Electron impact excitation of N2 is followed by radiative decay through a series of excited states, contributing to auroral and dayglow emissions. These processes are intertwined with various chemical reactions and collisional quenching involving the excited and ground state vibrational levels. Statistical equilibrium and time step atmospheric models are used to predict N2 excited state densities and emissions (as a test against previous models and measurements) and to investigate the role of excited nitrogen in the production of nitric oxide. These calculations predict that inclusion of the reaction N2[A3Σu+] + O, to generate NO, produces an increase by a factor of up to three in the calculated NO density at some altitudes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberA08303
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
    Issue numberA8
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007


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