Exoplanets & Exomoons

Automated Chemical Reaction Network Generation And Its Application To Exoplanet Atmospheres

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
February 23, 2024
Filed under , , , , , , , , ,
Automated Chemical Reaction Network Generation And Its Application To Exoplanet Atmospheres
Comparison between the previously reported vertical molecular mixing ratio profile of major species simulated for the (a) morning and (b) evening terminators of WASP-39 b in Tsai et al. (2023) (color-shaded areas) and those simulated from the current work using EPACRIS (solid lines). Each color indicates the corresponding species (SO2 : magenta, H2O: blue, CH4 : green, CO: red, CO2 : dark blue, H2S: brown, S: purple, S2 : grey, SH: yellow, and SO: light blue), and the color-shaded areas indicate the span enclosed by the photochemical models presented in Tsai et al. (2023). — astro-ph.EP

With the advent of JWST and spectroscopic characterization of exoplanet atmospheres with unprecedented detail, there is a demand for a more complete picture of chemical and photochemical reactions and their impact on atmospheric composition.

Traditionally, building reaction networks for (exo)planetary atmospheres involves manually tracking relevant species and reactions, a time-consuming and error-prone process. This approach’s applicability is also often limited to specific conditions, making it less versatile for different planetary types. (i.e., photochemical networks for Jupiters may not be directly applicable to water-rich exoplanets).

We introduce an automated approach using a computer-aided chemical reaction network generator, combined with a one-dimensional photochemical kinetic-transport model, offering significant advantages. This approach automatically selects reaction rates through a rate-based iterative algorithm and refinement steps, enhancing model reliability.

Also, this approach allows for the efficient simulation of diverse chemical environments, from hydrogen to water, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen-dominated atmospheres. Using WASP-39b and WASP-80b as examples, we demonstrate our approach’s effectiveness. Our WASP-39b model aligns with prior studies and JWST observations, capturing photochemically produced sulfur dioxide. The WASP-80b model reveals an atmosphere influenced by deep interior thermochemistry and vertical mixing, consistent with JWST NIRCam observations.

Furthermore, our model identifies a novel initial step for the N2-NH3-HCN pathway that enhances the conversion efficiency in high-temperature/pressure environments. This automated chemical network generation offers a novel, efficient, and precise framework for studying exoplanetary atmospheres, marking a significant advancement over traditional modeling techniques.

Jeehyun Yang, Renyu Hu

Comments: 22 pages, 12 figures, Submitted to ApJ
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Chemical Physics (physics.chem-ph)
Cite as: arXiv:2402.14784 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2402.14784v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Jeehyun Yang
[v1] Thu, 22 Feb 2024 18:40:29 UTC (3,646 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻