PRIMCHEM – Primitive Chemistry in Planetary Atmospheres: From the Upper Atmosphere down to the Surface

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 636829)

Prix Irène Joliot-Curie (2016)

Pr. Nathalie Carrasco, recipient of the 2016 Irène Joliot-Curie Award in the "Jeunes Femmes Scientifiques" category


Ionospheric chemistry (2015-)

Simulating Titan's upper atmosphere conditions with an interest in the neutral and ion chemistry in the gas phase


Synchrotron irradiation (2015-)

The laboratory produced organic aerosols (called tholins) are irradiated at the SOLEIL Synchrotron at multiple wavelengths

The ERC PRIMCHEM project is focused on Titan, largest moon of Saturn. Its dense atmosphere, made of nitrogen and methane, is unique in the solar system. There, photochemistry leads to the formation of an organic smog with prebiotic interest.

The project investigates the formation and evolution of this smog since the upper atmospheric layers, all the way down to the surface. We reproduce Titan’s chemistry here on Earth, developing reactors that simulate different energy inputs occuring in Titan's atmosphere.
trace species

Trace species (2016)

Understanding the role of trace species in tholin formation that are known to exist on Titan


Composition of the tholins (2016-)

Understanding the molecular composition, structure and optical properties of produced tholins


HCN Gas-Solid Interactions (2016-)

Simulating Titan's gas-solid interactions at low altitudes