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Title: Role of sesquiterpenes in biogenic new particle formation

Biogenic vapors form new particles in the atmosphere, affecting global climate. The contributions of monoterpenes and isoprene to new particle formation (NPF) have been extensively studied. However, sesquiterpenes have received little attention despite a potentially important role due to their high molecular weight. Via chamber experiments performed under atmospheric conditions, we report biogenic NPF resulting from the oxidation of pure mixtures of β-caryophyllene, α-pinene, and isoprene, which produces oxygenated compounds over a wide range of volatilities. We find that a class of vapors termed ultralow-volatility organic compounds (ULVOCs) are highly efficient nucleators and quantitatively determine NPF efficiency. When compared with a mixture of isoprene and monoterpene alone, adding only 2% sesquiterpene increases the ULVOC yield and doubles the formation rate. Thus, sesquiterpene emissions need to be included in assessments of global aerosol concentrations in pristine climates where biogenic NPF is expected to be a major source of cloud condensation nuclei.

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Science Advances
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National Science Foundation
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