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Photoelectrons as a Tracer of Planetary Atmospheric Composition: Application to CO on Mars
Wu, X. -S.1,2; Cui, J.2,3,4; Yelle, R. V.5; Cao, Y. -T.1,4; He, Z. -G.2,3; He, F.6,7; Wei, Y.6,7
2020-07-01
Source PublicationJOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-PLANETS
ISSN2169-9097
Volume125Issue:7Pages:11
AbstractPhotoelectrons are an extensively studied component of planetary ionospheres which have been frequently used as a diagnostic of ambient magnetic fields. We show in this study that they also provide information on atmospheric composition via the altitude variation of photoelectron intensity at specific energies. Such an idea is applied to Mars for which a large observational sample of photoelectrons is available from the Solar Wind Electron Analyzer measurements made by the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN). Our analysis reveals a strong decline in photoelectron intensity from 160 to 200 km, but this trend is restricted to a narrow energy range of 10-15 eV. By employing analytical yield spectrum calculations, we derive the model variations based on different choices of the background atmosphere. We find that the presence of CO is crucial for reproducing the observed variations. This allows atmospheric CO densities to be estimated from photoelectron measurements, which are a factor of 3-7 lower than the published densities based on the MAVEN Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer measurements and in better agreement with existing model results. In general, the usefulness of photoelectron intensity at a specific energy as a tracer of atmospheric composition relies critically on the species-dependent inelastic electron impact cross section at this energy. Plain Language Summary On each solar system body with a substantial atmosphere, the ionization of atmospheric neutrals by solar photons produces photoelectrons at a typical energy of several eV to several hundred eV. These electrons have caught extensive research interests for decades because their spatial distribution has been recognized as a good tracer of ambient magnetic fields. In this study, we propose that photoelectrons could also be used as a tracer of atmospheric composition. Such an idea is applied to Mars, showing that the change of photoelectron flux with altitude at 10-15 eV relies critically on the distribution of atmospheric CO. When applied to other planets, the combination of the atmospheric species and photoelectron energy involved may vary, depending on the detailed characteristics of inelastic collisions between electrons and neutrals. Our idea provides a potentially useful constraint on the abundance of key atmospheric species when it cannot be measured accurately by a mass spectrometer, a situation often encountered in modern planetary missions.
Keywordphotoelectron atmospheric composition
Funding OrganizationB-type Strategic Priority Program - Chinese Academy of Sciences ; B-type Strategic Priority Program - Chinese Academy of Sciences ; pre-research project on Civil Aerospace Technologies - China's National Space Administration ; pre-research project on Civil Aerospace Technologies - China's National Space Administration ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) ; B-type Strategic Priority Program - Chinese Academy of Sciences ; B-type Strategic Priority Program - Chinese Academy of Sciences ; pre-research project on Civil Aerospace Technologies - China's National Space Administration ; pre-research project on Civil Aerospace Technologies - China's National Space Administration ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) ; B-type Strategic Priority Program - Chinese Academy of Sciences ; B-type Strategic Priority Program - Chinese Academy of Sciences ; pre-research project on Civil Aerospace Technologies - China's National Space Administration ; pre-research project on Civil Aerospace Technologies - China's National Space Administration ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) ; B-type Strategic Priority Program - Chinese Academy of Sciences ; B-type Strategic Priority Program - Chinese Academy of Sciences ; pre-research project on Civil Aerospace Technologies - China's National Space Administration ; pre-research project on Civil Aerospace Technologies - China's National Space Administration ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC)
DOI10.1029/2020JE006441
WOS KeywordPHOTOIONIZATION CROSS-SECTIONS ; SINGLE-PHOTOIONIZATION ; ELECTRON COLLISIONS ; IONIC FRAGMENTATION ; IONOSPHERE ; IMPACT
Language英语
Funding ProjectB-type Strategic Priority Program - Chinese Academy of Sciences[XDB41000000] ; pre-research project on Civil Aerospace Technologies - China's National Space Administration[D020105] ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC)[41904154] ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC)[41525015] ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC)[41774186] ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC)[41525016]
Funding OrganizationB-type Strategic Priority Program - Chinese Academy of Sciences ; B-type Strategic Priority Program - Chinese Academy of Sciences ; pre-research project on Civil Aerospace Technologies - China's National Space Administration ; pre-research project on Civil Aerospace Technologies - China's National Space Administration ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) ; B-type Strategic Priority Program - Chinese Academy of Sciences ; B-type Strategic Priority Program - Chinese Academy of Sciences ; pre-research project on Civil Aerospace Technologies - China's National Space Administration ; pre-research project on Civil Aerospace Technologies - China's National Space Administration ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) ; B-type Strategic Priority Program - Chinese Academy of Sciences ; B-type Strategic Priority Program - Chinese Academy of Sciences ; pre-research project on Civil Aerospace Technologies - China's National Space Administration ; pre-research project on Civil Aerospace Technologies - China's National Space Administration ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) ; B-type Strategic Priority Program - Chinese Academy of Sciences ; B-type Strategic Priority Program - Chinese Academy of Sciences ; pre-research project on Civil Aerospace Technologies - China's National Space Administration ; pre-research project on Civil Aerospace Technologies - China's National Space Administration ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) ; National Science Foundation of China (NSFC)
WOS Research AreaGeochemistry & Geophysics
WOS SubjectGeochemistry & Geophysics
WOS IDWOS:000568113200022
PublisherAMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION
Citation statistics
Document Type期刊论文
Identifierhttp://ir.bao.ac.cn/handle/114a11/81290
Collection中国科学院国家天文台
Corresponding AuthorCui, J.
Affiliation1.Chinese Acad Sci, Natl Astron Observ, Beijing, Peoples R China
2.Chinese Acad Sci, Ctr Excellence Comparat Planetol, Hefei, Anhui, Peoples R China
3.Sun Yat Sen Univ, Sch Atmospher Sci, Planetary Environm & Astrobiol Res Lab PEARL, Zhuhai, Guangdong, Peoples R China
4.Univ Chinese Acad Sci, Sch Astron & Space Sci, Beijing, Peoples R China
5.Univ Arizona, Lunar & Planetary Sci Lab, Tucson, AZ USA
6.Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Geol & Geophys, Beijing, Peoples R China
7.Univ Chinese Acad Sci, Sch Earth & Planetary Sci, Beijing, Peoples R China
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
Wu, X. -S.,Cui, J.,Yelle, R. V.,et al. Photoelectrons as a Tracer of Planetary Atmospheric Composition: Application to CO on Mars[J]. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-PLANETS,2020,125(7):11.
APA Wu, X. -S..,Cui, J..,Yelle, R. V..,Cao, Y. -T..,He, Z. -G..,...&Wei, Y..(2020).Photoelectrons as a Tracer of Planetary Atmospheric Composition: Application to CO on Mars.JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-PLANETS,125(7),11.
MLA Wu, X. -S.,et al."Photoelectrons as a Tracer of Planetary Atmospheric Composition: Application to CO on Mars".JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-PLANETS 125.7(2020):11.
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