Organic Aerosols in the Presence of CO2 in the Early Earth and Exoplanets: UV–Vis Refractive Indices of Oxidized Tholins

Abstract : In this experimental study we investigate the role of atmospheric CO2 on the optical properties of organic photochemical aerosols. To this end, we add CO2 to a N2:CH4 gas mixture used in a plasma typically used for Titan studies. We produce organic thin films (tholins) in plasmas where the CO2/CH4 ratio is increased from 0 to 4. We measure these films via spectrometric ellipsometry and apply a Tauc–Lorentz model, used for optically transparent materials, to obtain the thickness of the thin film, its optical band gap, and the refractive indices in the UV–visible (270–600 nm). All samples present a significant absorption band in the UV. According to the Tauc–Lorentz model, as the CO2/CH4 ratio is quadrupled, the position of the UV band is shifted from ~177 nm to 264 nm while its strength is quadrupled. Consequently, we infer that oxidized organic aerosols absorb more efficiently at longer UV wavelengths than reduced aerosols. Our laboratory wavelength-tabulated UV–vis refractive indices provide new constraints to atmospheric models of the early Earth and Earth-like exoplanets including photochemical hazes formed under increasingly oxidizing conditions.
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The Astrophysical journal letters, Bristol : IOP Publishing, 2017, 848 (1), pp.L5. 〈10.3847/2041-8213/aa8cc4〉
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Soumis le : vendredi 13 octobre 2017 - 14:44:16
Dernière modification le : mercredi 21 mars 2018 - 18:58:00

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Lisseth Gavilan, Laurent Broch, Nathalie Carrasco, Benjamin Fleury, Ludovic Vettier. Organic Aerosols in the Presence of CO2 in the Early Earth and Exoplanets: UV–Vis Refractive Indices of Oxidized Tholins. The Astrophysical journal letters, Bristol : IOP Publishing, 2017, 848 (1), pp.L5. 〈10.3847/2041-8213/aa8cc4〉. 〈insu-01616292〉

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