Morphological study into the temperature dependence of solid ammonia under astrochemical conditions using vacuum ultraviolet and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy

J Chem Phys. 2007 Jun 28;126(24):244711. doi: 10.1063/1.2743426.


The authors present the results of a morphological study of solid ammonia using both Fourier-transform infrared and vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) spectroscopy. Dramatic changes in the VUV and infrared spectra at temperatures between 65 and 85 K provide a deeper insight into the structure of ammonia ice particularly with the observation of an exciton transition at 194 nm (6.39 eV) in the VUV spectrum, revealing a structure that is composed of crystallites. A complementary structure is observed in the IR spectrum at 1100 cm(-1) which is assigned to the symmetric deformation of ammonia molecules at the surfaces of the crystallites. Such spectral signatures may be used to identify the environment within which the ammonia ice is formed and provide a new route for obtaining information on the physical and chemical conditions occurring within the interstellar medium, on the surfaces of planetary bodies, and in Kuiper belt objects.