Laboratory analogues simulating Titan's atmospheric aerosols: Compared chemical compositions of grains and thin films - Sorbonne Université Access content directly
Journal Articles Planetary and Space Science Year : 2016

Laboratory analogues simulating Titan's atmospheric aerosols: Compared chemical compositions of grains and thin films

Abstract

Two sorts of solid organic samples can be produced in laboratory experiments simulating Titan's atmospheric reactivity: grains in the volume and thin films on the reactor walls. We expect that grains are more representative of Titan's atmospheric aerosols, but films are used to provide optical indices for radiative models of Titan's atmosphere. The aim of the present study is to address if these two sorts of analogues are chemically equivalent or not, when produced in the same N2-CH4 plasma discharge. The chemical compositions of both these materials are measured by using elemental analysis, XPS analysis and Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry. The main parameter probed is the CH4/N2 ratio to explore various possible chemical regimes. We find that films are homogeneous but significantly less rich in nitrogen and hydrogen than grains produced in the same experimental conditions. This surprising difference in their chemical compositions could be explained by the efficient etching occurring on the films, which stay in the discharge during the whole plasma duration, whereas the grains are ejected after a few minutes. The higher nitrogen content in the grains possibly involves a higher optical absorption than the one measured on the films, with a possible impact on Titan's radiative models.
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Dates and versions

hal-01321473 , version 1 (25-05-2016)

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Nathalie Carrasco, François Jomard, Jackie Vigneron, Arnaud Etcheberry, Guy Cernogora. Laboratory analogues simulating Titan's atmospheric aerosols: Compared chemical compositions of grains and thin films. Planetary and Space Science, 2016, 128, pp.52-57. ⟨10.1016/j.pss.2016.05.006⟩. ⟨hal-01321473⟩
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