Gas-phase sequestration of noble gases in the protosolar nebula: Possible consequences on the outer solar system composition

F. Pauzat, Y. Ellinger, O. Mousis, M. Ali Dib, O. Ozgurel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We address the problem of the sequestration of Ar, Kr, and Xe by H 3 in the gas-phase conditions encountered during the cooling of protoplanetary disks when H3 is competing with other species present in the same environment. Using high-level ab initio simulations, we try to quantify other sequestration possibilities involving He, H+5 , H2O, and H3O+ present in the protosolar nebula. Apart from the fact that H3 complexes formed with heavy noble gases are found to be by farmuch more stable than those formed with He or H2O, we show that H2D+ and H3O+, both products of the reactions of H3 with HD and H2O, can also be efficient trapping agents for Ar, Kr, and Xe. Meanwhile, the abundance profile of H3 in the outer part of the nebula is revisited with the use of an evolutionary accretion disk model that allows us to investigate the possibility that heavy noble gases can be sequestered by H3 at earlier epochs than those corresponding to their trapping in planetesimals.We find that H3 might be abundant enough in the outer protosolar nebula to trap Xe and Kr prior their condensation epochs, implying that their abundances should be solar in Saturns current atmosphere and below the observational limit in Titan. The same scenario predicts that comets formed at high heliocentric distances should also be depleted in Kr and Xe. In situ measurements, such as those planed with the Rosetta mission on 67P/ChuryumovGerasimenko, will be critical to check the validity of our hypotheses.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number27
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Nov 1 2013


    • accretion, accretion disks
    • astrochemistry
    • comets: general
    • molecular processes
    • planets and satellites: formation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science


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