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2012 Annual Science Report

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Titan Reporting  |  SEP 2011 – AUG 2012

Task Reactions of Organic Ices With Electrons (Part 1)

Project Summary

Ices exposed to low-energy electrons can be the cradle to further chemical reactions.

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

Co-Investigator Thom Orlando and colleagues are seeking to understand the role of dissociative electron attachment during low-energy (1-20 eV) electron irradiation of organic ices and aerosol surfaces relevant to Titan. They have examined the formation and release of H- via low-energy electron stimulated desorption experiments. H- is formed via dissociative electron attachment (DEA) in condensed CH3CN, NH2CH2CN and HCN organic ices deposited at 90K. H- is the primary ion formed and the only fragment which leaves the surface under bombardment conditions. The remaining radicals are left in the ice. These experiments show that ices exposed to low-energy electrons may potentially leave heavier neutrals or radicals trapped in the ice if these species do not possess sufficient kinetic energies to desorb. Therefore, while the atmosphere is enriched in H- ions, the ices exposed to low-energy electrons can be the cradle to further chemical reactions between fragments issued from DEA processes.

    Thomas Orlando
    Project Investigator
    Objective 2.2
    Outer Solar System exploration

    Objective 3.1
    Sources of prebiotic materials and catalysts