skip to main content

Title: Chemical composition of nanoparticles from <i>α</i>-pinene nucleation and the influence of isoprene and relative humidity at low temperature
Abstract. Biogenic organic precursors play an important role inatmospheric new particle formation (NPF). One of the major precursor speciesis α-pinene, which upon oxidation can form a suite of productscovering a wide range of volatilities. Highly oxygenated organic molecules(HOMs) comprise a fraction of the oxidation products formed. While it isknown that HOMs contribute to secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation,including NPF, they have not been well studied in newly formed particles dueto their very low mass concentrations. Here we present gas- and particle-phase chemical composition data from experimental studies of α-pinene oxidation, including in the presence of isoprene, at temperatures(−50 and −30 ∘C) and relativehumidities (20 % and 60 %) relevant in the upper free troposphere. Themeasurements took place at the CERN Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets (CLOUD)chamber. The particle chemical composition was analyzed by a thermaldesorption differential mobility analyzer (TD-DMA) coupled to a nitratechemical ionization–atmospheric pressure interface–time-of-flight(CI-APi-TOF) mass spectrometer. CI-APi-TOF was used for particle- and gas-phase measurements, applying the same ionization and detection scheme. Ourmeasurements revealed the presence of C8−10 monomers and C18−20dimers as the major compounds in the particles (diameter up to∼ 100 nm). Particularly, for the system with isoprene added,C5 (C5H10O5−7) and C15 compounds(C15H24O5−10) were detected. This observation is consistentwith the previously observed formation of more » such compounds in the gas phase. However, although the C5 and C15 compounds do not easily nucleate,our measurements indicate that they can still contribute to the particlegrowth at free tropospheric conditions. For the experiments reported here,most likely isoprene oxidation products enhance the growth of particleslarger than 15 nm. Additionally, we report on the nucleation rates measuredat 1.7 nm (J1.7 nm) and compared with previous studies, we found lowerJ1.7 nm values, very likely due to the higher α-pinene andozone mixing ratios used in the present study. « less
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; « less
Award ID(s):
1801897 1801574 1801280
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract. Highly oxygenated organic molecules (HOMs) contributesubstantially to the formation and growth of atmospheric aerosol particles,which affect air quality, human health and Earth's climate. HOMs are formedby rapid, gas-phase autoxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) suchas α-pinene, the most abundant monoterpene in the atmosphere. Due totheir abundance and low volatility, HOMs can play an important role innew-particle formation (NPF) and the early growth of atmospheric aerosols,even without any further assistance of other low-volatility compounds suchas sulfuric acid. Both the autoxidation reaction forming HOMs and theirNPF rates are expected to be strongly dependent ontemperature. However, experimental data on both effects are limited.Dedicated experiments were performed at the CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving OUtdoorDroplets) chamber at CERN to address this question. In this study, we showthat a decrease in temperature (from +25 to −50 ∘C) results ina reduced HOM yield and reduced oxidation state of the products, whereas theNPF rates (J1.7 nm) increase substantially.Measurements with two different chemical ionization mass spectrometers(using nitrate and protonated water as reagent ion, respectively) providethe molecular composition of the gaseous oxidation products, and atwo-dimensional volatility basis set (2D VBS) model provides their volatilitydistribution. The HOM yield decreases with temperature from 6.2 % at 25 ∘C to 0.7 % at −50 ∘C. However, there is a strongreductionmore »of the saturation vapor pressure of each oxidation state as thetemperature is reduced. Overall, the reduction in volatility withtemperature leads to an increase in the nucleation rates by up to 3orders of magnitude at −50 ∘C compared with 25 ∘C. Inaddition, the enhancement of the nucleation rates by ions decreases withdecreasing temperature, since the neutral molecular clusters have increasedstability against evaporation. The resulting data quantify how the interplaybetween the temperature-dependent oxidation pathways and the associatedvapor pressures affect biogenic NPF at the molecularlevel. Our measurements, therefore, improve our understanding of purebiogenic NPF for a wide range of tropospherictemperatures and precursor concentrations.« less
  2. Abstract. The formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) from the oxidation of β-pinene via nitrate radicals is investigated in the Georgia Tech Environmental Chamber (GTEC) facility. Aerosol yields are determined for experiments performed under both dry (relative humidity (RH) < 2 %) and humid (RH = 50 % and RH = 70 %) conditions. To probe the effects of peroxy radical (RO2) fate on aerosol formation, "RO2 + NO3 dominant" and "RO2 + HO2 dominant" experiments are performed. Gas-phase organic nitrate species (with molecular weights of 215, 229, 231, and 245 amu, which likely correspond to molecular formulas of C10H17NO4, C10H15NO5, C10H17NO5, and C10H15NO6, respectively) are detected by chemical ionization mass spectrometry (CIMS) and their formation mechanisms are proposed. The NO+ (at m/z 30) and NO2+ (at m/z 46) ions contribute about 11 % to the combined organics and nitrate signals in the typical aerosol mass spectrum, with the NO+ : NO2+ ratio ranging from 4.8 to 10.2 in all experiments conducted. The SOA yields in the "RO2 + NO3 dominant" and "RO2 + HO2 dominant" experiments are comparable. For a wide range of organic mass loadings (5.1–216.1 μg m&minus;3), the aerosol mass yield is calculated to be 27.0–104.1 %.more »Although humidity does not appear to affect SOA yields, there is evidence of particle-phase hydrolysis of organic nitrates, which are estimated to compose 45–74 % of the organic aerosol. The extent of organic nitrate hydrolysis is significantly lower than that observed in previous studies on photooxidation of volatile organic compounds in the presence of NOx. It is estimated that about 90 and 10 % of the organic nitrates formed from the β-pinene+NO3 reaction are primary organic nitrates and tertiary organic nitrates, respectively. While the primary organic nitrates do not appear to hydrolyze, the tertiary organic nitrates undergo hydrolysis with a lifetime of 3–4.5 h. Results from this laboratory chamber study provide the fundamental data to evaluate the contributions of monoterpene + NO3 reaction to ambient organic aerosol measured in the southeastern United States, including the Southern Oxidant and Aerosol Study (SOAS) and the Southeastern Center for Air Pollution and Epidemiology (SCAPE) study.

    « less
  3. Abstract. Secondary organic aerosols (SOA) are major components of atmospheric fineparticulate matter, affecting climate and air quality. Mounting evidenceexists that SOA can adopt glassy and viscous semisolid states, impactingformation and partitioning of SOA. In this study, we apply the GECKO-A(Generator of Explicit Chemistry and Kinetics of Organics in the Atmosphere)model to conduct explicit chemical modeling of isoprene photooxidation andα-pinene ozonolysis and their subsequent SOA formation. The detailedgas-phase chemical schemes from GECKO-A are implemented into a box model andcoupled to our recently developed glass transition temperatureparameterizations, allowing us to predict SOA viscosity. The effects ofchemical composition, relative humidity, mass loadings and mass accommodation on particle viscosity are investigated in comparison withmeasurements of SOA viscosity. The simulated viscosity of isoprene SOAagrees well with viscosity measurements as a function of relative humidity,while the model underestimates viscosity of α-pinene SOA by a feworders of magnitude. This difference may be due to missing processes in themodel, including autoxidation and particle-phase reactions, leading to theformation of high-molar-mass compounds that would increase particleviscosity. Additional simulations imply that kinetic limitations of bulkdiffusion and reduction in mass accommodation coefficient may play a role inenhancing particle viscosity by suppressing condensation of semi-volatilecompounds. The developed model is a useful tool formore »analysis andinvestigation of the interplay among gas-phase reactions, particle chemicalcomposition and SOA phase state.« less
  4. The daytime oxidation of biogenic hydrocarbons is attributed to both OH radicals and O3, while nighttime chemistry is dominated by the reaction with O3 and NO3 radicals. Here, the diurnal pattern of Secondary Organic Aerosol (SOA) originating from biogenic hydrocarbons was intensively evaluated under varying environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, sunlight intensity, NOx levels, and seed conditions) by using the UNIfied Partitioning Aerosol phase Reaction (UNIPAR) model, which comprises multiphase gas-particle partitioning and in-particle chemistry. The oxidized products of three different hydrocarbons (isoprene, α-pinene, and β-caryophyllene) were predicted by using near explicit gas mechanisms for four different oxidation paths (OH, O3, NO3, and O(3P)) during day and night. The gas mechanisms implemented the Master Chemical Mechanism (MCM v3.3.1), the reactions that formed low volatility products via peroxy radical (RO2) autoxidation, and self- and cross-reactions of nitrate-origin RO2. In the model, oxygenated products were then classified into volatility-reactivity base lumping species, which were dynamically constructed under varying NOx levels and aging scales. To increase feasibility, the UNIPAR model that equipped mathematical equations for stoichiometric coefficients and physicochemical parameters of lumping species was integrated with the SAPRC gas mechanism. The predictability of the UNIPAR model was demonstrated by simulating chamber-generated SOA data undermore »varying environments day and night. Overall, the SOA simulation decoupled to each oxidation path indicated that the nighttime isoprene SOA formation was dominated by the NO3-driven oxidation, regardless of NOx levels. However, the oxidation path to produce the nighttime α-pinene SOA gradually transited from the NO3-initiated reaction to ozonolysis as NOx levels decreased. For daytime SOA formation, both isoprene and α-pinene were dominated by the OH-radical initiated oxidation. The contribution of the O(3P) path to all biogenic SOA formation was negligible in daytime. Sunlight during daytime promotes the decomposition of oxidized products via photolysis and thus, reduces SOA yields. Nighttime α-pinene SOA yields were significantly higher than daytime SOA yields, although the nighttime α-pinene SOA yields gradually decreased with decreasing NOx levels. For isoprene, nighttime chemistry yielded higher SOA mass than daytime at the higher NOx level (isoprene/NOx > 5 ppbC/ppb). The daytime isoprene oxidation at the low NOx level formed epoxy-diols that significantly contributed SOA formation via heterogeneous chemistry. For isoprene and α-pinene, daytime SOA yields gradually increased with decreasing NOx levels. The daytime SOA produced more highly oxidized multifunctional products and thus, it was generally more sensitive to the aqueous reactions than the nighttime SOA. β-Caryophyllene, which rapidly oxidized and produced SOA with high yields, showed a relatively small variation in SOA yields from changes in environmental conditions (i.e., NOx levels, seed conditions, and diurnal pattern), and its SOA formation was mainly attributed to ozonolysis day and night. To mimic the nighttime α-pinene SOA formation under the polluted urban atmosphere, α-pinene SOA formation was simulated in the presence of gasoline fuel. The simulation suggested the growth of α-pinene SOA in the presence of gasoline fuel gas by the enhancement of the ozonolysis path under the excess amount of ozone, which is typical in urban air. We concluded that the oxidation of the biogenic hydrocarbon with O3 or NO3 radicals is a source to produce a sizable amount of nocturnal SOA, despite of the low emission at night.« less
  5. Abstract. It has been widely observed around the world that the frequency and intensityof new particle formation (NPF) events are reduced during periods of highrelative humidity (RH). The current study focuses on how RH affects theformation of highly oxidized molecules (HOMs), which are key components ofNPF and initial growth caused by oxidized organics. The ozonolysis ofα-pinene, limonene, and Δ3-carene, with and without OHscavengers, were carried out under low NOx conditions undera range of RH (from ∼3 % to ∼92 %) in atemperature-controlled flow tube to generate secondary organic aerosol (SOA).A Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS) was used to measure the sizedistribution of generated particles, and a novel transverse ionizationchemical ionization inlet with a high-resolution time-of-fight massspectrometer detected HOMs. A major finding from this work is that neitherthe detected HOMs nor their abundance changed significantly with RH, whichindicates that the detected HOMs must be formed from water-independentpathways. In fact, the distinguished OH- and O3-derived peroxyradicals (RO2), HOM monomers, and HOM dimers could mostly beexplained by the autoxidation of RO2 followed by bimolecularreactions with other RO2 or hydroperoxy radicals (HO2),rather than from a water-influenced pathway like through the formation of astabilized Criegee intermediatemore »(sCI). However, as RH increased from ∼3 % to ∼92 %, the total SOA number concentrations decreased bya factor of 2–3 while SOA mass concentrations remained relatively constant. These observations show that, whilehigh RH appears to inhibit NPF as evident by the decreasing numberconcentration, this reduction is not caused by a decrease inRO2-derived HOM formation. Possible explanations for these phenomenawere discussed.

    « less