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Title: In situ analysis of the bulk and surface chemical compositions of organic aerosol particles
Abstract Understanding the chemical and physical properties of particles is an important scientific, engineering, and medical issue that is crucial to air quality, human health, and environmental chemistry. Of special interest are aerosol particles floating in the air for both indoor virus transmission and outdoor atmospheric chemistry. The growth of bio- and organic-aerosol particles in the air is intimately correlated with chemical structures and their reactions in the gas phase at aerosol particle surfaces and in-particle phases. However, direct measurements of chemical structures at aerosol particle surfaces in the air are lacking. Here we demonstrate in situ surface-specific vibrational sum frequency scattering (VSFS) to directly identify chemical structures of molecules at aerosol particle surfaces. Furthermore, our setup allows us to simultaneously probe hyper-Raman scattering (HRS) spectra in the particle phase. We examined polarized VSFS spectra of propionic acid at aerosol particle surfaces and in particle bulk. More importantly, the surface adsorption free energy of propionic acid onto aerosol particles was found to be less negative than that at the air/water interface. These results challenge the long-standing hypothesis that molecular behaviors at the air/water interface are the same as those at aerosol particle surfaces. Our approach opens a new avenue in revealing surface compositions and chemical aging in the formation of secondary organic aerosols in the atmosphere as well as chemical analysis of indoor and outdoor viral aerosol particles.  more » « less
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Communications Chemistry
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National Science Foundation
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