Refractive Index Measurements of Ammonia and Hydrocarbon Ices at 632.8 nm


Romanescu, C., Marschall, J., Kim, D., Khatiwada, A., & Kalogerakis, K. S. (2010). Refractive index measurements of ammonia and hydrocarbon ices at 632.8 nm. Icarus, 205(2), 695-701.


Optical constants in a broad temperature and wavelength range are important input parameters in radiative transfer models used in studies of planetary atmospheres. In the laboratory, the refractive index values of ices at the HeNe laser wavelength (632.8 nm) are often used to monitor the growth rate and thickness of ice films. In this report we present laboratory measurements determining the refractive index at 632.8 nm of ammonia and hydrocarbon ices in the temperature range 80–100 K. Thin ice films are vapor-deposited on a cryogenically cooled mirror located inside a high-vacuum apparatus. The real component of the refractive index of these ice films is determined by a two-angle interferometric technique. Optical modeling calculations of the transmittance and reflectance through the thin ice films assist in the interpretation of the experimental results. We discuss our results and compare them with other measurements available in the literature. The results reported here are relevant to the spectroscopy of icy objects in the solar system; they are needed to perform laboratory characterization of ices, derive optical constants, and model spectra.

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