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Ultraviolet-stimulated fluorescence and phosphorescence of aromatic hydrocarbons in water ice.

Astrobiology (2011-03-23)
Paul V Johnson, Robert Hodyss, Diana K Bolser, Rohit Bhartia, Arthur L Lane, Isik Kanik
ABSTRACT

A principal goal of astrobiology is to detect and inventory the population of organic compounds on extraterrestrial bodies. Targets of specific interest include the wealth of icy worlds that populate our Solar System. One potential technique for in situ detection of organics trapped in water ice matrices involves ultraviolet-stimulated emission from these compounds. Here, we report a preliminary investigation into the feasibility of this concept. Specifically, fluorescence and phosphorescence of pure benzene ice and 1% mixtures of benzene, toluene, p-xylene, m-xylene, and o-xylene in water ice, respectively, were studied at temperatures ranging from ∼17 K up to 160 K. Spectra were measured from 200-500 nm (50,000-20,000 cm(-1)) while ice mixtures were excited at 248.6 nm. The temperature dependence of the fluorescence and phosphorescence intensities was found to be independent of the thermal history and phase of the ice matrix in all cases examined. All phosphorescent emissions were found to decrease in intensity with increasing temperature. Similar behavior was observed for fluorescence in pure benzene, while the observed fluorescence intensity in water ices was independent of temperature.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Supelco
p-Xylene, analytical standard
Sigma-Aldrich
p-Xylene, anhydrous, ≥99%
Supelco
p-Xylene solution, certified reference material, 5000 μg/mL in methanol
Supelco
p-Xylene, Pharmaceutical Secondary Standard; Certified Reference Material
Sigma-Aldrich
p-Xylene, suitable for HPLC, ≥99%
Sigma-Aldrich
p-Xylene, puriss. p.a., ≥99.0% (GC)
Sigma-Aldrich
p-Xylene, ReagentPlus®, 99%