One possible origin of prebiotic organic material is that these compounds were formed via Fischer-Tropsch-type (FTT) reactions of carbon monoxide and hydrogen on silicate and oxide grains in the warm, inner-solar nebula. To investigate this possibility, an experimental system has been built in which the catalytic efficiency of different grain-analog materials can be tested. During such runs, the gas phase above these grain analogs is sampled using Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. To provide quantitative estimates of the concentration of these gases, a technique in which high-resolution spectra of the gases are calculated using the High-Resolution Transmission Molecular Absorption (HITRAN) database is used. Next, these spectra are processed via a method that mimics the processes giving rise to the instrumental line shape of the FT-IR spectrometer, including apodization, self-apodization, and broadening due to the finite resolution. The result is a very close match between the measured and computed spectra. This technique was tested using four major gases found in the FTT reactions: carbon monoxide, methane, carbon dioxide, and water. For the ranges typical of the FTT reactions, the carbon monoxide results were found to be accurate to within 5% and the remaining gases accurate to within 10%. These spectra can then be used to generate synthetic calibration data, allowing the rapid computation of the gas concentrations in the FTT experiments.
You do not have subscription access to this journal. Cited by links are available to subscribers only. You may subscribe either as an OSA member, or as an authorized user of your institution.
Contact your librarian or system administrator
Login to access OSA Member Subscription