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- Environmental Science: Atmospheres
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Nitrogen-containing heterocyclic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are important components of wildfire emissions that are readily reactive toward nitrate radicals (NO3) during nighttime, but the oxidation mechanism and the potential formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) and brown carbon (BrC) are unclear. Here, NO3 oxidation of three nitrogen-containing heterocyclic VOCs, pyrrole, 1-methylyrrole (1-MP), and 2-methylpyrrole (2-MP), was investigated in chamber experiments to determine the effect of precursor structures on SOA and BrC formation. The SOA chemical compositions and the optical properties were analyzed using a suite of online and offline instrumentation. Dinitro- and trinitro-products were found to be the dominant SOA constituents from pyrrole and 2-MP, but not observed from 1-MP. Furthermore, the SOA from 2-MP and pyrrole showed strong light absorption, while that from 1-MP were mostly scattering. From these results, we propose that NO3-initiated hydrogen abstraction from the 1-position in pyrrole and 2-MP followed by radical shift and NO2 addition leads to light-absorbing nitroaromatic products. In the absence of a 1-position hydrogen, NO3 addition likely dominates the 1-MP chemistry. We also estimate that the total SOA mass and light absorption from pyrrole and 2-MP are comparable to those from phenolic VOCs and toluene in biomass burning, underscoring the importance of considering nighttime oxidation of pyrrole and methylpyrroles in air quality and climate models.more » « less
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