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Mechanisms for the formation of benzene in the atmosphere of Titan E. H. Wilson1

Summary: Mechanisms for the formation of benzene in the atmosphere of Titan
E. H. Wilson1
and S. K. Atreya
Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor,
Michigan, USA
A. Coustenis
LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, Meudon, France
Received 26 February 2002; revised 23 May 2002; accepted 25 June 2002; published 26 February 2003.
[1] Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are important interstellar species, and their
precursor benzene (C6H6) has been detected in our solar system. In this study the
possibility of benzene formation in the atmosphere of Titan is investigated. Benzene
abundance in Titan's atmosphere is found to be rather highly dependent on the assumed
mechanism for benzene production. Assuming reactions involved in this mechanism to
proceed at the rate corresponding to 300 K, a value of 5.4 107
at 2 105
mbar is
found for the mole fraction of benzene. The primary mechanism responsible for this
benzene abundance involves the recombination of propargyl (C3H3) radicals. A source of
benzene molecules through ion chemistry in the upper atmosphere is also investigated.
The inclusion of heavy cyclic ions results in little change in the C6H6 abundance at the


Source: Atreya, Sushil - Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Science, University of Michigan


Collections: Physics