Presentation Title

Characterization of Titan's Lakes by In Situ Spectroscopy

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Location

HUB 367

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Abstract

The hydrocarbon lakes of Titan vitally contribute to Titan’s geology and atmosphere. Theses lakes have been studied by the Huygens probe in 2005-2006 preliminarily revealing that they consist of methane, ethane and a slew of organic compounds that are components of geological sediment. Titan’s atmosphere is very dense and obscures remote observational analysis, pushing in situ analysis as the main study tool. Given the cold temperatures of Titan (94 Kelvin) standard analytical techniques requiring sample acquisition and transfer are impractical and pose the threat of sample destruction. In efforts to mimic the study of Titan’s lakes in the laboratory we immersed an Attenuated Total Reflectance (ATR) fiber probe coupled to spectrometers, into artificial lake samples to study the mid-IR spectral region. This study included two experimental setups. The first, utilized a standard bench-top spectrometer, a Nicolet 6700 FTIR Thermo Scientific spectrometer (1000-5000 cm-1) coupled to a Remspec Low Temperature ATR probe (625-16,600 cm-1). The second setup included an Arcoptix FTIR-OEM000-ZnSe spectrometer (714-5000 cm-1) coupled to a MultiLoop-MIR Silver Halide PIR (ATR) probe (2000-600 cm-1) serving as a prototype analogy. Initial studies were done at room temperatures, followed by studies under cryogenic conditions (94 Kelvin) and a nitrogen environment. The molecules studied include acetylene, biphenyl, carbon dioxide, cyanamide, hexamethylenetetrazine, paraformaldehyde, naphthalene, liquid ethane, methane, methanol, and toluene. Molecules known to form inclusion compounds are present on Titan, therefore of interest to study to better understand Titan. Inclusion compound formations were studied between acetylene/CO2, methane/water-ice, ethane/water-ice, and methane/paraformaldehyde, and ethane/paraformaldehyde. Our study found evaporite/condensate provides the strongest signal, acetylene+CO2 require too specific of conditions to form a cocrystal in Titan conditions, preliminary evidence for inclusion compound formation was found between paraformaldehyde and hydrocarbons. These results support further confidence in employing electromagnetic radiation spectroscopy for Titan’s lakes and help in instrument design protocols.

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Nov 12th, 11:30 AM Nov 12th, 11:45 AM

Characterization of Titan's Lakes by In Situ Spectroscopy

HUB 367

The hydrocarbon lakes of Titan vitally contribute to Titan’s geology and atmosphere. Theses lakes have been studied by the Huygens probe in 2005-2006 preliminarily revealing that they consist of methane, ethane and a slew of organic compounds that are components of geological sediment. Titan’s atmosphere is very dense and obscures remote observational analysis, pushing in situ analysis as the main study tool. Given the cold temperatures of Titan (94 Kelvin) standard analytical techniques requiring sample acquisition and transfer are impractical and pose the threat of sample destruction. In efforts to mimic the study of Titan’s lakes in the laboratory we immersed an Attenuated Total Reflectance (ATR) fiber probe coupled to spectrometers, into artificial lake samples to study the mid-IR spectral region. This study included two experimental setups. The first, utilized a standard bench-top spectrometer, a Nicolet 6700 FTIR Thermo Scientific spectrometer (1000-5000 cm-1) coupled to a Remspec Low Temperature ATR probe (625-16,600 cm-1). The second setup included an Arcoptix FTIR-OEM000-ZnSe spectrometer (714-5000 cm-1) coupled to a MultiLoop-MIR Silver Halide PIR (ATR) probe (2000-600 cm-1) serving as a prototype analogy. Initial studies were done at room temperatures, followed by studies under cryogenic conditions (94 Kelvin) and a nitrogen environment. The molecules studied include acetylene, biphenyl, carbon dioxide, cyanamide, hexamethylenetetrazine, paraformaldehyde, naphthalene, liquid ethane, methane, methanol, and toluene. Molecules known to form inclusion compounds are present on Titan, therefore of interest to study to better understand Titan. Inclusion compound formations were studied between acetylene/CO2, methane/water-ice, ethane/water-ice, and methane/paraformaldehyde, and ethane/paraformaldehyde. Our study found evaporite/condensate provides the strongest signal, acetylene+CO2 require too specific of conditions to form a cocrystal in Titan conditions, preliminary evidence for inclusion compound formation was found between paraformaldehyde and hydrocarbons. These results support further confidence in employing electromagnetic radiation spectroscopy for Titan’s lakes and help in instrument design protocols.