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Applicant -- Laboratory simulations of planetary surfaces and atmospheres: applications to small icy bodies and Titan’s atmosphere

Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Ahmed
Mahjoub

Laboratory simulations of chemical and spectroscopic properties of martials relevant to planetary surfaces and atmospheres play a major role in the interpretation of measurements taken by space missions and telescopic observations. The demand is increasing for physical, chemical and spectroscopic measurements of analogs of planetary materials in extreme conditions of temperature and pressure mimicking planetary conditions. For more than 9 years I have been working on experimental simulation of reactivity and spectroscopic properties of organic materials relevant to small bodies of the solar system and Titan’s atmosphere. 

In the first part of my presentation I am going to talk about sulfur chemistry in the surfaces of small bodies with applications to Jupiter Trojans, Kuiper Belt Objects (KBO’s) and comets. The main goal of this work is to test the hypothetical correlation between the bimodality in colors observed in Jupiter Trojans and KBO’s and the chemistry that involves H2S. We studied the reactivity in mixed ices containing H2S CH3OH, H2O and NH3 and we characterized the chemistry initiated by electron irradiation using infrared spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. This laboratory study will be discussed in relation with influence of H2S on chemical and spectroscopic properties of icy bodies of the solar system. Furthermore, the results obtained in the frame of this study could be used to interpret sulfurous molecules detected by rosetta ROSINAinstrument.

The second part of my presentation will focus on the chemistry and optical properties of Titan’s atmospheric aerosols. We created analogs of Titan’s haze particles, known as tholins, using a plasma reactor. We measured the optical indices of Titan’s tholins using ellipsometry spectroscopy in the Vis-NIR region. We also characterized the aromaticity of tholins using 2 steps Laser Desorption and Ionization Mass Spectrometry L2DI-MS technique.

 

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