Photolysis of H2O-H2O2 mixtures: The destruction of H2O2

M. J. Loeffler, M. Fama, R. A. Baragiola, R. W. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We present laboratory results on the loss of H2O2 in solid H2O+H2O2 mixtures at temperatures between 21 and 145K initiated by UV photolysis (193nm). Using infrared spectroscopy and microbalance gravimetry, we measured the decrease of the 3.5μm infrared absorption band during UV irradiation and obtained a photodestruction cross section that varies with temperature, being lowest at 70K. We use our results, along with our previously measured H2O2 production rates via ionizing radiation and ion energy fluxes from the spacecraft to compare H2O2 creation and destruction at icy satellites by ions from their planetary magnetosphere and from solar UV photons. We conclude that, in many cases, H2O2 is not observed on icy satellite surfaces because the H2O2 photodestruction rate is much higher than the production rate via energetic particles, effectively keeping the H2O2 infrared signature at or below the noise level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)945-950
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Europa
  • Ices, IR spectroscopy
  • Jupiter, satellites
  • Photochemistry
  • Saturn, satellites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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