A microwave plasma source for VUV atmospheric photochemistry

Sarah Tigrine 1, 2 Nathalie Carrasco 3, 1 Ludovic Vettier 1 Guy Cernogora 1
LATMOS - Laboratoire Atmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales
Abstract : Microwave plasma discharges working at low pressure are nowadays a well-developed technique mainly used to provide radiation at different wavelengths. The aim of this work is to show that those discharges are an efficient windowless vacuum ultra-violet (VUV) photon source for planetary atmospheric photochemistry experiments. To do this, we use a surfatron-type discharge with a neon gas flow in the mbar pressure range coupled to a photochemical reactor. Working in the VUV range allows nitrogen-dominated atmospheres to be focused on (λ  <  100 nm). The experimental setup makes sure that no energy sources (electrons, metastable atoms) other than the VUV photons interact with the reactive medium. Neon has two resonance lines at 73.6 and 74.3 nm that behave differently depending on the pressure or power conditions. In parallel, the VUV photon flux emitted at 73.6 nm has been experimentally estimated in different pressure and power conditions, and varies in a large range between 2  ×  1013 ph s−1 cm−2 and 4  ×  1014 ph s−1 cm−2, which is comparable to a VUV synchrotron photon flux. Our first case study is the atmosphere of Titan and its N2–CH4 atmosphere. With this VUV source, the production of HCN and C2N2, two major Titan compounds, is detected, ensuring the suitability of the source for atmospheric photochemistry experiments.
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Submitted on : Friday, September 16, 2016 - 2:47:05 PM
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Sarah Tigrine, Nathalie Carrasco, Ludovic Vettier, Guy Cernogora. A microwave plasma source for VUV atmospheric photochemistry. Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, IOP Publishing, 2016, 49 (39), pp.395202. ⟨10.1088/0022-3727/49/39/395202⟩. ⟨insu-01367633⟩



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