Thermal regeneration of sulfuric acid hydrates after irradiation

Mark J. Loeffler, Reggie L. Hudson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In an attempt to more completely understand the surface chemistry of the jovian icy satellites, we have investigated the effect of heating on two irradiated crystalline sulfuric acid hydrates, H 2SO 4·4H 2O and H 2SO 4·H 2O. At temperatures relevant to Europa and the warmer jovian satellites, post-irradiation heating recrystallized the amorphized samples and increased the intensities of the remaining hydrate's infrared absorptions. This thermal regeneration of the original hydrates was nearly 100% efficient, indicating that over geological times, thermally-induced phase transitions enhanced by temperature fluctuations will reform a large fraction of crystalline hydrated sulfuric acid that is destroyed by radiation processing. The work described is the first demonstration of the competition between radiation-induced amorphization and thermally-induced recrystallization in icy ionic solids relevant to the outer Solar System.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-566
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cosmic rays
  • Europa
  • Ices, IR spectroscopy
  • Impact processes
  • Jupiter, Satellites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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