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The detection of ArH+ has revived the interest in the search for noble gas containing species. Despite helium being the second most abundant element in the universe (He/H ∼ 1/10), it has never been observed in any other form than that of a neutral/ionized atom in the interstellar medium. Because He is the “most noble” gas, its non-observation as part of neutral molecular systems is understandable. It is more surprising for charged species, especially HeH+ whose spectral signatures are well documented in the laboratory. The purpose of this work was to find a simple positive ion containing He, and likely to be observed as an alternative to undetected HeH+. Among the HeX2+ diatomics formed with first row atoms, we focused on X = C because of both its relative abundance and the magnitude of its ionization potentials with respect to He. The formation of CHe2+ by radiative association is the center of this study. The question was addressed by means of numerical simulations using high level calculations of the CHe2+potential surface, followed by a quantum chemical determination of the rate coefficients for the corresponding radiative association in the range of 10 to 1000K. The radiative association path shows a potential well deep enough to accommodate 20 vibrational levels, and no barrier to oppose the reaction. The rate coefficient varies from ∼4.5 × 10−20 cm3s−1 to ∼2.5 × 10−22 cm3s−1 for the temperatures considered. The present study suggests that the existence of this species has to be searched for mainly in highly irradiated regions.


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