Molecular dissociation in hot, dense hydrogen

W. R. Magro, D. M. Ceperley, C. Pierleoni, B. Bernu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a path-integral Monte Carlo study of dissociation in dense hydrogen (1.75 ≤ rs ≤ 2.2, with rs the Wigner sphere radius). As the temperature is lowered from 105 to 5000 K, a molecular hydrogen gas forms spontaneously from a neutral system of protons and electrons. At high density, rs < 2.0, thermally activated dissociation is accompanied by decreasing pressure, signaling the presence of a first order transition and critical point. The decrease in electron kinetic energy during dissociation is responsible for the pressure decrease and transition. At lower density the phase transition disappears.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1240-1243
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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