To determine the needs, priorities and accuracies of the atomic and molecular physics data required for plasma modelling the rôle of these data in computer simulations of magnetically confined plasmas is reviewed. The models approximate atomic and molecular reactions in many different ways. Multi-dimensional calculations concerned with the equilibrium and stability of a plasma-magnetic field configuration assume the plasma to consist of fully ionised hydrogen ions and electrons in the magnetohydrodynamic approximation: the effect of atomic and molecular reactions is minimal. Zero (spatial) dimensional calculations of the break-down phase of gas discharges assume the gas to consist of atomic and molecular hydrogen, electrons and impurity ions such as oxygen, carbon, iron, tungsten and molybdenum: the effect of plasma motion is minimal. Between these extremes are classes of computations such as the one (spatial) dimension transport calculations which attempt to establish a realistic balance between the behaviour of ions, atoms and molecules in an established discharge. The limitations and inadequacies of present data and models for atomic and molecular processes are illustrated by several specific calculations. The results of these calculations permit identification of the ar eas where improved models and data for the atomic and molecular reactions are required. © 1978.
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