Ly-α photon induced amorphization of Ic water ice at 16 Kelvin
Effects and quantitative comparison with ion irradiation
INAF, Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, Via S. Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
Corresponding author: G. Leto, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 7 October 2002
Water ice is a ubiquitous material in space, on the surface of planets and their moons, in comets and interstellar dust grains. The structure of water ice strongly depends on the deposition temperature. It can be amorphous if deposited at low temperature, i.e. 16 K, or crystalline if the deposition temperature is higher than 140 K. In this paper we report the first experimental study of the structural effects induced by Lyman-α UV photons in crystalline water ice carried out by in situ infrared spectroscopy. The effects induced by Lyman-α photolysis are compared with those induced by ion irradiation carried out with the same experimental apparatus. We found that, as already observed in the case of fast ions, also UV Lyman-α photons are able to fully amorphize the crystalline water ice structure after a dose of few eV per molecule. This study has important astrophysical implications, in particular because photons and fast ions are both present in space, they can induce variations in the profile of the 3 μm band of crystalline water ice. Thus these effects have to be considered when one attempt to deduce information on the physical status (e.g. temperature history) of the responsible dust from the profile of the observed ice band.
Key words: astrochemistry / molecular processes / methods: laboratory / techniques: spectroscopic / ISM: molecules
© ESO, 2003