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Influence of CO on Titan atmospheric reactivity

Abstract : The atmosphere of Titan is mainly composed of N2 and CH4, and photochemical volatiles products CxHyNz. Most of the laboratory studies simulating Titan's atmospheric reactivity focus on the highly complex carbon and nitrogen organic chemistry leading to a production of laboratory analogues of Titan's aerosols, called Tholins [Alcouffe et al., 2010]. However, the atmosphere of Titan also contains traces of oxygen compounds. The most abudant one detected is carbon monoxyde CO with a 47 ppmv concentration measured in high stratosphere [de Kok et al., 2007]. In this work we investigate the influence of CO on the N2-CH4 reactivity. We simulate the whole reaction chains with a laboratory Radio Frequency Capacitively Coupled plasma discharge (RF CCP) gas mixture of nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxyde. In order to detect unambiguously the possible effects, CO is introduced with amounts of 0 - 1 - 2.25 - 4.5 %, larger than in Titan's atmosphere. The kinetics of the methane is monitored by mass spectrometry and the compositions of the gas phase and tholins are monitored by GC-MS and elemental analysis respectively. We find that CO modifies the composition of the gas phase with the detection of oxygenated compounds. CO decreases drastically the production efficiency of tholins, involving also a perturbation on the methane kinetics. The oxygen incorporation in tholins is found to be efficient . As a conclusion, we show that carbon monoxyde is effectively coupled with N2-CH4 chemistry and that it impacts even the solid organic aerosols. References: Alcouffe, G., et al (2010), Capacitively coupled plasma used to simulate Titan's atmospheric chemistry, Plasma Sources Science and Technology, 19(1), 015008. de Kok, R., et al. (2007), Oxygen compounds in Titan's stratosphere as observed by Cassini CIRS, Icarus, 186(2), 354-363.
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Benjamin Fleury, Nathalie Carrasco, Thomas Gautier, Ahmed Mahjoub, J. He, et al.. Influence of CO on Titan atmospheric reactivity. AGU Fall Meeting 2013, Dec 2013, San Francisco, United States. pp.P51I-04. ⟨hal-00954734⟩



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