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Ultraviolet photochemistry of ethane: implications for the atmospheric chemistry of the gas giants

Chang, Y; Yang, J; Chen, Z; Zhang, Z; Yu, Y; Li, Q; He, Z; ... Hansen, CS; + view all (2020) Ultraviolet photochemistry of ethane: implications for the atmospheric chemistry of the gas giants. Chemical Science , 11 (19) pp. 5089-5097. 10.1039/d0sc01746a. Green open access

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Abstract

Chemical processing in the stratospheres of the gas giants is driven by incident vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) light. Ethane is an important constituent in the atmospheres of the gas giants in our solar system. The present work describes translational spectroscopy studies of the VUV photochemistry of ethane using tuneable radiation in the wavelength range 112 ≤ λ ≤ 126 nm from a free electron laser and event-triggered, fast-framing, multi-mass imaging detection methods. Contributions from at least five primary photofragmentation pathways yielding CH_{2}, CH_{3} and/or H atom products are demonstrated and interpreted in terms of unimolecular decay following rapid non-adiabatic coupling to the ground state potential energy surface. These data serve to highlight parallels with methane photochemistry and limitations in contemporary models of the photoinduced stratospheric chemistry of the gas giants. The work identifies additional photochemical reactions that require incorporation into next generation extraterrestrial atmospheric chemistry models which should help rationalise hitherto unexplained aspects of the atmospheric ethane/acetylene ratios revealed by the Cassini–Huygens fly-by of Jupiter.

Type: Article
Title: Ultraviolet photochemistry of ethane: implications for the atmospheric chemistry of the gas giants
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1039/d0sc01746a
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1039/d0sc01746a
Language: English
Additional information: © Royal Society of Chemistry 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Chemistry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106763
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