Molecular Isomer Identification of Titan’s Tholins Organic Aerosols by Photoelectron/Photoion Coincidence Spectroscopy Coupled to VUV Synchrotron Radiation

Abstract : The chemical composition of Titan organic haze is poorly known. To address this issue, laboratory analogues named tholins are synthesized and analyzed by methods often requiring an extraction process in a carrier solvent. These methods exclude the analysis of the insoluble tholins’ fraction and assume a hypothetical chemical equivalence between soluble and insoluble fractions. In this work, we present a powerful complementary analysis method recently developed on the DESIRS VUV synchrotron beamline at SOLEIL. It involves soft pyrolysis of tholins at ∼230 °C and electron/ion coincidence analysis of the emitted volatile compounds photoionized by tunable synchrotron radiation. By comparison with reference photoelectron spectra (PES), the spectral information collected on the detected molecules yields their isomeric structure. The method is more readily applied to light species (m/z ≤ 69), while for heavier ones, the number of possibilities and the lack of PES reference spectra in the literature limit its analysis. A notable pattern in the analyzed tholins is the presence of species containing adjacent doubly bonded N atoms, which might be a signature of heterogeneous incorporation of N2 in tholins.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, August 16, 2016 - 2:11:09 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 15, 2019 - 4:11:34 AM

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Barbara Cunha de Miranda, Gustavo A. Garcia, François Gaie-Levrel, Ahmed Mahjoub, Thomas Gautier, et al.. Molecular Isomer Identification of Titan’s Tholins Organic Aerosols by Photoelectron/Photoion Coincidence Spectroscopy Coupled to VUV Synchrotron Radiation. Journal of Physical Chemistry A, American Chemical Society, 2016, 120 (33), pp.6529-6540. ⟨10.1021/acs.jpca.6b03346⟩. ⟨insu-01353953⟩

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