Photolysis of solid NH3 and NH3-H2O mixtures at 193 nm

M. J. Loeffler, R. A. Baragiola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We have studied UV photolysis of solid ammonia and ammonia-dihydrate samples at 40 K, using infrared spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and microgravimetry. We have shown that in the pure NH3 sample, the main species ejected are NH3, H2, and N2, where the hydrogen and nitrogen increase with laser fluence. This increase in N 2 ejection with laser fluence explains the increase in mass loss rate detected by a microbalance. In contrast, for the ammonia-water mixture, we see very weak signals of H2 and N2 in the mass spectrometer, consistent with the very small mass loss during the experiment and with a <5% decrease in the NH3 infrared absorption bands spectroscopy after a fluence of ∼3 × 1019 photons/cm2. The results imply that ammonia-ice mixtures in the outer solar system are relatively stable under solar irradiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number214506
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number21
StatePublished - Dec 7 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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