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Discovery of heavy negative ions in Titan's ionosphere

Coates, AJ; Crary, FJ; Lewis, GR; Young, DT; Waite, JH; Sittler, EC; (2007) Discovery of heavy negative ions in Titan's ionosphere. Geophysical Research Letters , 34 (22) , Article L22103. 10.1029/2007GL030978. Green open access

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Abstract

Titan's ionosphere contains a rich positive ion population including organic molecules. Here, using CAPS electron spectrometer data from sixteen Titan encounters, we reveal the existence of negative ions. These ions, with densities up to similar to 100 cm similar to 3, are in mass groups of 10-30, 30-50, 50-80, 80-110, 110-200 and 200+ amu/charge. During one low encounter, negative ions with mass per charge as high as 10,000 amu/q are seen. Due to their unexpectedly high densities at similar to 950 km altitude, these negative ions must play a key role in the ion chemistry and they may be important in the formation of organic-rich aerosols (tholins) eventually falling to the surface.

Type: Article
Title: Discovery of heavy negative ions in Titan's ionosphere
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1029/2007GL030978
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2007GL030978
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union
Keywords: Cassini plasma spectrometer, Electron-affinity, Photoelectron-spectroscopy, Atmosphere
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 Space and Climate Physics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/168293
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