Publication details

Statistical physics of two-temperature rotational energy distributions in stationary plasmas


RIDENTI Marco Antonio DE AMORIM Jayr SILVA Carlos Alberto Bomfim VORÁČ Jan FELLOWS Carlos Eduardo VENTURA Laiz Rodrigues

Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Physical Review E
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Afterglows; Optical Emission Spectroscopy; Positive Systems
Description Two-temperature rotational energy distributions from rarefied diatomic molecules are very often observed in laboratory plasmas. There has been much debate over the years about the physical meaning of this kind of rotational energy distributions and the associated statistical physics. We show here that under certain reasonable assumptions and constraints the condition of Shannon-Jaynes entropy maximization may produce a two-temperature distribution. This may happen, for instance, when a system is simultaneously coupled to different thermal baths. In plasmas this is possible because rarefied molecular species may be immersed in a medium where electrons and the dominant atomic species are quasidecoupled, each of them acting as distinct thermal baths. Considering that molecular species may interact both with electrons and heavy neutral species, we may ask what should be the resulting molecular energy distribution. We answer this question in this paper and give some examples on how this can be used to interpret experimental molecular distribution from partially ionized plasmas.

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