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The influence of methane, acetylene and carbon dioxide on the crystallization of supercooled ethane droplets in Titan’s clouds

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Publication details

JournalPlanetary and space science
DateE-pub ahead of print - 21 Feb 2011
DatePublished (current) - Jun 2011
Issue number8
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)722-732
Early online date21/02/11
Original languageEnglish


Spectroscopic studies of the homogeneous and heterogeneous crystallization of supercooled ethane aerosol droplets performed under conditions representative of those in Titan's lower atmosphere are presented. Pure ethane aerosols and both internally- and externally-mixed ensembles of ethane/acetylene and ethane/carbon dioxide aerosols were generated in a bath gas cooling cell and their freezing dynamics monitored using infrared absorption spectroscopy. A detailed overview of the spectroscopic signatures of pure ethane and mixed ethane/acetylene and ethane/carbon dioxide aerosols and their phase-dependence is provided. The ice-nucleating efficiencies of acetylene and carbon dioxide aerosols were compared, as were the efficiencies of freezing via an immersion or contact freezing mechanism. The spectral data provided will be of significant use for remote sensing applications, while the nucleation studies have important consequences for models of Titan's ethane clouds.

    Research areas

  • Titan, Aerosol, Ethane, Infrared spectroscopy, Nucleation, Freezing mechanism

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