Influence of methane concentration on the optical indices of Titan's aerosols analogues

Ahmed Mahjoub 1 Pierre-Richard Dahoo 1 Thomas Gautier 1 Nathalie Carrasco 1 Cyril Szopa 1 Guy Cernogora 1
1 IMPEC - LATMOS
LATMOS - Laboratoire Atmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales
Abstract : Titan's haze is one of the main drivers of the radiative transfer in the atmosphere of Titan and strongly influences its thermal structure (Rannou et al.2010). In Titan's atmosphere, CH4 concentration may have varied through time during the evolution of this planet (Atreya et al. 2006). So it is of utmost importance to determine the optical constants of tholins synthesized from N2-CH4 mixtures with different CH4 concentration to understand the evolution of Titan atmosphere through time. This work deals with the optical constant characterization of Titan aerosol analogues produced with a radio frequency experimental setup and deposited as thin films onto a silicon substrate (Mahjoub et al. 2012). Tholins were produced in different N2-CH4 gaseous mixtures to study the effect of the initial methane concentration on their optical constants. The real and imaginary parts of the complex refractive index were determined using the spectroscopic ellipsometry in the 0.37-1 µm range. We find that optical indices depend strongly on the methane concentrations of the gas phase: imaginary index (k) decreases by an order of magnitude with initial CH4 concentration at 1 µm wavelength, while the real index (n) increases from 1.48 up to 1.56 at 1 µm wavelength. The larger absorption in the visible range of tholins produced at lower methane percentage is explained by an increase of amines signatures in tholins, measured by absorption spectroscopy in the mid-IR range. According to the methane concentration in Titan's atmosphere, the evolution of the visible optical signature of Titan's aerosols may have influenced very differently Titan's climate through time.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 3:37:00 PM
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Ahmed Mahjoub, Pierre-Richard Dahoo, Thomas Gautier, Nathalie Carrasco, Cyril Szopa, et al.. Influence of methane concentration on the optical indices of Titan's aerosols analogues. Second Workshop on Titan Through Time; Unlocking Titan's Past, Present and Future, Apr 2012, Greenbelt, Maryland, United States. pp.95. ⟨hal-00695659⟩

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