Observation of quantum dynamical resonances in near cold inelastic collisions of astrophysical molecules
This mini review summarizes experimental findings of quantum dynamical resonances in inelastic collisions at energies equivalent to temperatures of a few to a few tens of Kelvin, corresponding to physical conditions prevailing in dense molecular clouds of the interstellar medium. Information obtained is thus relevant to collision energy transfer modelling in such media. Crossed-beam scattering experiments performed at Bordeaux university for inelastic collisions of important astrophysical molecules such as CO with H2 or He and O2 with H2 are described. The peaks that show up in the collision energy dependence of the state-to-state integral cross sections for the lowest rotational excitation transitions reveal the quantum nature of such processes. They are ascribed as shape and Feshbach resonances by comparison with the results of close coupling quantum mechanical calculations performed concomitantly on accurate potential energy surfaces.