The Theory of Pressure-ionization and its Applications
Kothari’s classic paper on the theory of pressure ionization showed that matter can be ionized at high pressure as a logical extension of Saha’s theory of thermal ionization to cold matter. Saha’s theory was applied to non-degenerate electron gas and Kothari considered non-relativistic degenerate electron gas subjected to high pressures, such as occurring in astrophysical objects under their own gravity. He used the virial theorem to predict the degree of ionization as a function of its density. It showed that (i) stellar material in the interiors of white dwarf stars should be fully ionized even at zero temperature, (ii) it is possible for hydrogen to go into a metallic state at high pressures as in the interior of Jupiter and Saturn, (iii) there exists a maximum radius of a non-relativistic degenerate electron gas system (cold body), the value being nearly that of Jupiter.
Volume 26 | Issue 10