Comprehensive Chemistry of HeH+in the Early Universe

E. D.S. Courtney, R. C. Forrey, R. T. McArdle, P. C. Stancil, J. F. Babb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The recent detection of the helium hydride ion (HeH+) in the planetary nebula NGC 7027 has inspired studies revisiting the dominant processes for its formation and destruction. Because radiative association is the primary formation mechanism for the helium hydride ion at all redshifts, and many early universe chemistry models rely on accurate results for calculations of destruction rates, we explicitly computed rovibrationally distinguished partial cross sections and rate coefficients of helium hydride formation via radiative association, and modeled the abundance of HeH+ in the early universe using recently available rate coefficients for all relevant formation and destruction reactions. The rate coefficients for the radiative association formation reaction of HeH+ and radiative charge transfer in He+ + H collisions were obtained using two distinct methods. Our newly calculated rate coefficients along with other recently reported He chemistry reactions and updated cosmological parameters were incorporated into a new calculation of the abundance of HeH+ for redshifts between z = 10 and 4000. We find that the abundance of the helium hydride ion is at least three orders of magnitude larger than previous predictions for redshifts near z = 20. Rovibrationally distinguished radiative association rate coefficients are given as a function of temperature, and the significance of stimulated radiative association for redshifts z > 400 is also shown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number70
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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