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Physics Department News Archive

September 1, 2005

Augustana Students Co-Author Paper in Physical Review

SIOUX FALLS - Augustana students Nora Johnson and Heather Baxter co-authored a paper entitled "Proton-Carbon Monoxide Collisions from 10 keV to 14 MeV" published in the August issue of Physical Review A.

This study examines how carbon monoxide molecules fragment during collisions with high energy protons as a function of the proton velocity. In nature, these collisions occur most often when the solar wind interacts with CO molecules in the upper atmosphere, helping to control the rate at which gas escapes into space.

Besides Earth, this study provides data useful for researchers modeling the atmospheres of Triton and Titan. In artificial environments, this type of collision occurs in many high temperature plasmas when carbon monoxide is present.

Baxter is a senior majoring in physics. She is the daughter of Karen and Terry Baxter of Walford, Iowa.

Johnson, the daughter of Diane and Lawrence Johnson of Dell Rapids, S.D., graduated from Augustana in May with magna cum laude distinction. She majored in chemistry and mathematics and is pursuing graduate studies in physics at Kansas State University.

Baxter and Johnson participated in the experiment as part of their 2004 summer research experience funded by the NASA/South Dakota Space Grant Consortium. The research was a collaborative effort of Augustana College, Kansas State University, and the National Institute for Fusion Science in Nagoya, Japan.

The Physical Review is the flagship journal of the American Physics Society, and Physical Review A is the section of this journal dedicated to atomic, molecular, and optical physics research. Physical Review is stringently peer-reviewed and is generally regarded as the most prestigious physics-only journal in the world.

The full text of the article is available online at the link below.

E. Wells, Vidhya Krishnamurthi, K.D. Carnes, Nora. G. Johnson, Heather D. Baxter, David Moore, Kristana M. Bloom, B.M. Barnes, H. Tawara, and I. Ben-Itzhak, "Proton-Carbon Monoxide Collisions from 10 keV to 14 MeV", Phys. Rev. A 72, 022726 (2005).

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Augustana College Physics Department

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