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Title: An ab initio HCN/HNC rotational-vibrational line list and opacity function for astronomy
Author: Harris, Gregory John
ISNI:       0000 0001 3534 3386
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2002
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HCN/HNC is an important molecule which is found throughout the universe. For example HCN/HNC is known to exist in comets, planetary atmospheres and the interstellar medium. HCN is also an important opacity source in carbon rich stars (C-stars). HCN masers have been observed in the circumstellar material around these C-stars and also in galaxies. Jorgensen and co-workers investigated model carbon star atmospheres in which they included HCN as an opacity source. They found that including a HCN opacity function had a remarkable effect: the atmosphere expanded by five times and the pressure of the atmosphere in the surface layers dropped by one or two orders of magnitude. This suggests that a full and detailed treatment of the rotational-vibrational spectrum of HCN/HNC could have a profound effect on the models of carbon stars, this provides the main motivation in this work. The temperatures of the stars in which HCN is an important opacity source Teff = 2000 - 3000 K. If HCN and HNC are in thermodynamic equilibrium it would be expected that HNC as well as HCN are found in significant populations. The transition dipoles of the fundamental bands of HNC are more than twice as strong as their HCN counter parts. These factors mean that both HCN and HNC will be considered, which makes a semiglobal treatment of the [H,C,N] system necessary. In this thesis an ab initio HCN/HNC linelist, from which accurate spectra and opacity functions can be calculated, is computed. Within this thesis I present least squares fits for ab initio semiglobal potential energy, dipole moment, relativistic correction and adiabatic correction surfaces. The potential energy surface (PES) is morphed for HNC geometries of the potential to improve the HNC representation of the surface. The PES and dipole moment surface (DMS) are used to perform quantum mechanical nuclear motion (rotational-vibrational) calculations with the DVR3D suite of codes. Preliminary calculations are made to optimise a ro-vibrational basis set and the parameters of the basis functions. Rotational and vibrational energy levels and dipole transition strengths are calculated with various surfaces and are compared with existing experimental and theoretical values. The new PES and DMS are then used to calculate an extensive HCN/HNC linelist containing energy levels, line frequencies and transition dipoles. From this linelist, room and stellar temperature HCN and HNC spectra are computed and compared with both lab and stellar spectra. Finally, a HCN and HNC opacity function is calculated from the linelist.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Astronomy