Fractionation of hydrogen and deuterium on Venus due to collisional ejection

  • Gurwell M
  • Yung Y
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The fractionation factor ∫ is important for interpreting the current escape fluxes of H and D on Venus and how the D/H ratio has evolved. The escape flux is currently governed by the two processes of charge exchange and collisional ejection by fast oxygen atoms. Using a best-fit parameterized equation for the O-H scattering angle phase function, more accurate branching ratios for the oxygen ion dissociation and including the effects of the initial energy and momentum of the ions and electrons, as well as for the hydrogen and deuterium gas, we have reanalyzed the collisional ejection process. Our analysis produces improved values for the efficiency of H and D escape as a function of the ionospheric temperature. From our results we propose the reduction of the hydrogen flux for collisional ejection from 8 to 3.5 × 106cm-2s-1. Assuming that collisions leading to escape occur mostly in the region between 200 and 400 km, the revised D/H fractionation factor due to collisional ejection is 0.47, where previously the process had been considered completely discriminating against deuterium escape (or ∫ ∼ 0). The resulting deuterium flux is 3.1 × 104cm-2s-1, roughly 6 times the flux due to charge exchange, making collisional ejection the dominant escape mechanism for deuterium on Venus. © 1993.

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  • Mark A. Gurwell

  • Yuk L. Yung

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