Bistability in interstellar gas-phase chemistry

Gai I. Boger*, Amiel Sternberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present an analysis of "bistability" in gas-phase chemical models of dark interstellar clouds. We identify the chemical mechanisms that allow high- and low-ionization solutions to the chemical rate equations to coexist. We derive simple analytic scaling relations for the gas densities and ionization rates for which the chemistry becomes bistable. We explain why bistability is sensitive to the H3+ dissociative recombination rate coefficient and why it is damped by gas-grain neutralization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-323
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2006


  • ISM: molecules
  • Molecular processes


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