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  • Mentel, T. F.; Springer, M.; Ehn, M.; Kleist, E.; Pullinen, I.; Kurten, T.; Rissanen, Matti; Wahner, A.; Wildt, J. (2015)
    It has been postulated that secondary organic particulate matter plays a pivotal role in the early growth of newly formed particles in forest areas. The recently detected class of extremely low volatile organic compounds (ELVOC) provides the missing organic vapors and possibly contributes a significant fraction to atmospheric SOA (secondary organic aerosol). The sequential rearrangement of peroxy radicals and subsequent O-2 addition results in ELVOC which are highly oxidized multifunctional molecules (HOM). Key for efficiency of such HOM in early particle growth is that their formation is induced by one attack of the oxidant (here O-3), followed by an autoxidation process involving molecular oxygen. Similar mechanisms were recently observed and predicted by quantum mechanical calculations e.g., for isoprene. To assess the atmospheric importance and therewith the potential generality, it is crucial to understand the formation pathway of HOM. To elucidate the formation path of HOM as well as necessary and sufficient structural prerequisites of their formation we studied homologous series of cycloalkenes in comparison to two monoterpenes. We were able to directly observe highly oxidized multifunctional peroxy radicals with 8 or 10 O atoms by an Atmospheric Pressure interface High Resolution Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer (APi-TOF-MS) equipped with a NO3--chemical ionization (CI) source. In the case of O-3 acting as an oxidant, the starting peroxy radical is formed on the so-called vinylhydroperoxide path. HOM peroxy radicals and their termination reactions with other peroxy radicals, including dimerization, allowed for analyzing the observed mass spectra and narrowing down the likely formation path. As consequence, we propose that HOM are multifunctional percarboxylic acids, with carbonyl, hydroperoxy, or hydroxy groups arising from the termination steps. We figured that aldehyde groups facilitate the initial rearrangement steps. In simple molecules like cycloalkenes, autoxidation was limited to both terminal C atoms and two further C atoms in the respective alpha positions. In more complex molecules containing tertiary H atoms or small, constrained rings, even higher oxidation degrees were possible, either by simple H shift of the tertiary H atom or by initialization of complex ring-opening reactions.
  • Hong, J.; Kim, J.; Nieminen, T.; Duplissy, J.; Ehn, M.; Äijälä, M.; Hao, L. Q.; Nie, W.; Sarnela, N.; Prisle, N. L.; Kulmala, M.; Virtanen, A.; Petäjä, T.; Kerminen, V. -M. (2015)
    Measurements of the hygroscopicity of 15145 nm particles in a boreal forest environment were conducted using two Hygroscopicity Tandem Differential Mobility Analyzer (HTDMA) systems during the Pan-European Gas-Aerosols-climate interaction Study (PEGASOS) campaign in spring 2013. Measurements of the chemical composition of non-size segregated particles were also performed using a high-resolution aerosol mass spectrometer (HR-AMS) in parallel with hygroscopicity measurements. On average, the hygroscopic growth factor (HGF) of particles was observed to increase from the morning until afternoon. In case of accumulation mode particles, the main reasons for this behavior were increases in the ratio of sulfate to organic matter and oxidation level (O : C ratio) of the organic matter in the particle phase. Using an O : C dependent hygroscopic growth factor of organic matter (HGF(org)), fitted using the inverse Zdanovskii-Stokes-Robinson (ZSR) mixing rule, clearly improved the agreement between measured HGF and that predicted based on HR-AMS composition data. Besides organic oxidation level, the influence of inorganic species was tested when using the ZSR mixing rule to estimate the hygroscopic growth factor of organics in the aerosols. While accumulation and Aitken mode particles were predicted fairly well by the bulk aerosol composition data, the hygroscopicity of nucleation mode particles showed little correlation. However, we observed them to be more sensitive to the gas phase concentration of condensable vapors: the more sulfuric acid in the gas phase, the more hygroscopic the nucleation mode particles were. No clear dependence was found between the extremely low-volatility organics concentration (ELVOC) and the HGF of particles of any size.
  • Moschos, Vaios; Kumar, Nivedita K.; Dällenbach, Kaspar; Baltensperger, Urs; Prevot, Andre S. H.; El Haddad, Imad (2018)
    The impact of brown carbon (BrC) on climate has been widely acknowledged but remains uncertain, because either its contribution to absorption is being ignored in most climate models or the associated mixed emission sources and atmospheric lifetime are not accounted for. In this work, we propose positive matrix factorization as a framework to apportion the contributions of individual primary and secondary organic aerosol (OA) source components of BrC absorption, by combining long-term aerosol mass spectrometry (AMS) data with concurrent ultraviolet-visible (UV-vis) spectroscopy measurements. The former feature time-depend ent factor contributions to OA mass, and the latter consist of wavelength-dependent absorption coefficients. Using this approach for a full-year case study, we estimate for the first time the mass absorption efficiency (MAE) of major light-absorbing water soluble OA components in the atmosphere. We show that secondary biogenic OA contributes negligibly to absorption despite dominating the mass concentration in the summer. In contrast, primary and secondary wood burning emissions are highly absorbing up to 500 nm. The approach allowed us to constrain their MAE within a confined range consistent with previous laboratory work, which can be used in climate models to estimate the impact of BrC from these emissions on the overall absorption.