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Published April 16, 2016 | Published
Journal Article Open

Solid-state photochemistry as a formation mechanism for Titan's stratospheric C_4N_2 ice clouds


We propose that C_4N_2 ice clouds observed in Titan's springtime polar stratosphere arise due to solid-state photochemistry occurring within extant ice cloud particles of HCN-HC_3N mixtures. This formation process resembles the halogen-induced ice particle surface chemistry that leads to condensed nitric acid trihydrate (NAT) particles and ozone depletion in Earth's polar stratosphere. As our analysis of the Cassini Composite Infrared Spectrometer 478 cm^(−1) ice emission feature demonstrates, this solid-state photochemistry mechanism eliminates the need for the relatively high C_4N_2 saturation vapor pressures required (even though they are not observed) when the ice is produced through the usual procedure of direct condensation from the vapor.

Additional Information

© 2016 American Geophysical Union. Received 13 JAN 2016; Accepted 18 MAR 2016; Accepted article online 22 MAR 2016; Published online 14 APR 2016. The authors acknowledge funding support from NASA's Cassini Project. C.M.A. and R.E.S. were supported in part by the Cassini Data Analysis and Participating Scientist program. Y.L.Y. was supported in part by the Cassini UVIS program via NASA grant JPL.1459109 to the California Institute of Technology. The CIRS data presented here are archived in the PDS Atmospheres Node at New Mexico State University.

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Published - Anderson_et_al-2016-Geophysical_Research_Letters.pdf


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August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023