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Source of Nitrogen Isotope Anomaly in HCN in the Atmosphere of Titan

Liang, Mao-Chang and Heays, Alan N. and Lewis, Brenton R. and Gibson, Stephen T. and Yung, Yuk L. (2007) Source of Nitrogen Isotope Anomaly in HCN in the Atmosphere of Titan. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 664 (2). L115-L118. ISSN 2041-8205.

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The ^(14)N/^(15)N ratio for N_2 in the atmosphere of Titan was recently measured to be a factor of 2 higher than the corresponding ratio for HCN. Using a one-dimensional photochemical model with transport, we incorporate new isotopic photoabsorption and photodissociation cross sections of N_2, computed quantum-mechanically, and show that the difference in the ratio of ^(14)N/^(15)N between N_2 and HCN can be explained primarily by the photolytic fractionation of ^(14)N^(14)N and ^(14)N ^(15)N. The [HC^(14)N]/[HC^(15)N] ratio produced by N_2 photolysis alone is 23. This value, together with the observed ratio, constrains the flux of atomic nitrogen input from the top of the atmosphere to be in the range (1-2) × 10^9 atoms cm^(-2) s^(-1).

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Liang, Mao-Chang0000-0002-5294-9344
Yung, Yuk L.0000-0002-4263-2562
Additional Information:© 2007 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2007 May 7; accepted 2007 June 15; published 2007 July 12. This research was supported by NASA grant NNG06GF33G and Cassini grant JPL.1256000 to the California Institute of Technology, and Australian Research Council Discovery Program grants DP0558962 and DP0773050 to the Australian National University. Special thanks are due to D. Shemansky for providing a high-resolution solar spectrum. We also thank K. Dere, F. Mills, I. Ribas, and T. Woods for helpful discussion on the issue of the solar EUV flux, and N. Heavens and R. L. Shia for reading the manuscript. We thank W. DeMore, C. Miller, and H. Waite for valuable discussions on isotopic fractionation.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Australian Research Council Discovery ProgramDP0558962
Australian Research Council Discovery ProgramDP0773050
Subject Keywords:atmospheric effects; methods : numerical; molecular processes; planetary systems; planets and satellites : individual ( Titan); radiative transfer
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100430-093524383
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Official Citation: Mao-Chang Liang et al 2007 ApJ 664 L115 doi: 10.1086/520881
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:18084
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:12 May 2010 17:04
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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