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The process by which a positive and a negative ion join to form a neutral molecule or other neutral particle, also process by which radicals or dissociations species join to form molecules. </dd>
Recombination is applied both to the simple case of capture of free electrons by positive atomic or molecular ions, and also to the more complex case of neutralization of a positive small ion by a negative small ion or a similar (but much more rare) neutralization of large ions. Recombination is, in general, a process accompanied by emission of radiation. The light emitted from the channel of a lightning stroke is recombination radiation as is airglow. The much less concentrated recombinations steadily occurring in all parts of the atmosphere where ions are forming and disappearing does not yield observable radiation. The rate at which electrons, small ions, and large ions recombine is a function of their respective mobilities and of their concentration. The former dependence is expressed in terms of the recombination coefficient of the particular ion type. </dd>


This article is based on NASA's Dictionary of Technical Terms for Aerospace Use