22-EPN3-086: Exploring the Effects of H+, On+, and Sn+ Irradiation of Water Ice, plus an ISM relevant Molecule, as a Potential Prebiotic Europa Ocean Analogue
Visit by Alexandra Corrigan, University of Kent (UK) to TA2.12 Atomki-Queen’s University Ice Laboratory for Astrochemistry (Hungary).
Dates of visit: 15 May – 06 June 2023
Report Summary: At the AQUILA chamber in the ECRIS Laboratory at the Atomki Institute for Nuclear Research the effects of H+, O2+, and S5+ irradiation of water ice, plus Formamide, as a potential prebiotic Europa ocean analogue were explored. Three sodium chloride windows, covered with a 1:1 ice mixture of water and Formamide, were irradiated with ion beams. The windows were cooled down to 90K in vacuum, and a 200-250 nm thick ice layer was deposited at them. In the first experiment, the sample was irradiated using a 15keV H+ ion beam in 12 steps, up to a total fluence of 1.1x 1015 ion/cm2. After each irradiation steps an infra-red (IR) spectrum was taken to observe the irradiation products. After completing, the sample was warmed up to 300K in 30K increments, taking an IR spectrum at each interval. During both irradiation and heating, the sputtered molecules were monitored by QMS. Finally, after a full warming up of the cold parts we opened the chamber, removed the sample (for post-TA residue analysis using LCMS/MS), replaced the NaCl window, and pumped the chamber. This protocol was repeated (with different irradiation fluences) for 30keV O2+ and 60keV S5+ ion beams. All the sample windows have been taken for residue analysis. From initial analysis of the spectra it seems that the Formamide was broken, and formed products such as CO, CO2, OCN–, and CN–. Further investigation is required to confirm these results and to determine what other products were created during the irradiation.