• TAJ-728-1-11

Surface Chemistry and Particle Shape: Processes for the Evolution of Aerosols in Titan's Atmosphere

Authors: Panayotis Lavvas, Markus Sander, Markus Kraft, and Hiroshi Imanaka*

Reference: The Astrophysical Journal 728(80), 1-11, (2011)


We use a stochastic approach in order to investigate the production and evolution of aerosols in Titan’s atmosphere. The simulation initiates from the benzene molecules observed in the thermosphere and follows their evolution to larger aromatic structures through reaction with gas-phase radical species. Aromatics are allowed to collide and provide the first primary particles, which further grow to aggregates through coagulation. We also consider for the first time the contribution of heterogenous processes at the surface of the particles, which are described by the deposition of the formed aromatic structures on the surface of the particles, and also through the chemical reaction with radical species. Our results demonstrate that the evolution of aerosols in terms of size, shape, and density is a result of competing processes between surface growth, coagulation, and sedimentation. Furthermore, our simulations clearly demonstrate the presence of a spherical growth region in the upper atmosphere followed by a transition to an aggregate growth region below. The transition altitude ranges between 500 and 600 km based on the parameters of the simulation.

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