Aerosol growth in Titan's ionosphere

Panayotis Lavvas, Roger V. Yelle, Tommi Koskinen, Axel Bazin, Véronique Vuitton, Erik Vigren, Marina Galand, Anne Wellbrock, Andrew J. Coates, Jan Erik Wahlund, Frank J. Crary, Darci Snowden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Photochemically produced aerosols are common among the atmospheres of our solar system and beyond. Observations and models have shown that photochemical aerosols have direct consequences on atmospheric properties as well as important astrobiological ramifications, but the mechanisms involved in their formation remain unclear. Here we show that the formation of aerosols in Titan's upper atmosphere is directly related to ion processes, and we provide a complete interpretation of observed mass spectra by the Cassini instruments from small to large masses. Because all planetary atmospheres possess ionospheres, we anticipate that the mechanisms identified here will be efficient in other environments as well, modulated by the chemical complexity of each atmosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2729-2734
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 19 2013


  • Heterogeneous chemistry
  • Particles charging
  • Planetary sciences
  • Plasma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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