Absolute absorption coefficient of C 6H 2 in the mid-UV range at low temperature; implications for the interpretation of Titan atmospheric spectra
The interpretation of mid-UV albedo spectra of planetary atmospheres, especially that of Titan, is the main goal of the SIPAT (Spectroscopie uv d'Interet Prebiologique dans l'Atmosphere de Titan) research program. This laboratory experiment has been developed in order to systematically determine the absorption coefficients of molecular compounds which are potential absorbers of scattered sunlight in planetary atmospheres, with high spectral resolution, and at various temperatures below room temperature. From photochemical modelling and experimental simulations, we may expect triacetylene (C 6H 2) to be present in the atmosphere of Titan, even though it has not yet been detected. We present here the first determination of the absolute absorption coefficient of that compound in the 200-300 nm range and at two temperatures (296 K and 233 K). The temperature dependence of the C 6H 2 absorption coefficient in that wavelength range is compared to that previously observed in the case of cyanoacetylene (HC 3N). We then discuss the implications of the present results for the interpretation of Titan UV spectra, where it appears that large uncertainties can be introduced either by the presence of trace impurities in laboratory samples or by the variations of absorption coeffcients with temperature.