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  1. Abstract. Oxidation of organic compounds in the atmosphere produces an immenselycomplex mixture of product species, posing a challenge for both theirmeasurement in laboratory studies and their inclusion in air quality andclimate models. Mass spectrometry techniques can measure thousands of thesespecies, giving insight into these chemical processes, but the datasetsthemselves are highly complex. Data reduction techniques that groupcompounds in a chemically and kinetically meaningful way provide a route tosimplify the chemistry of these systems but have not been systematicallyinvestigated. Here we evaluate three approaches to reducing thedimensionality of oxidation systems measured in an environmental chamber:positive matrix factorization (PMF), hierarchical clustering analysis (HCA),and a parameterization to describe kinetics in terms of multigenerationalchemistry (gamma kinetics parameterization, GKP). The evaluation isimplemented by means of two datasets: synthetic data consisting of athree-generation oxidation system with known rate constants, generationnumbers, and chemical pathways; and the measured products of OH-initiatedoxidation of a substituted aromatic compound in a chamber experiment. Wefind that PMF accounts for changes in the average composition of allproducts during specific periods of time but does not sort compounds intogenerations or by another reproducible chemical process. HCA, on the otherhand, can identify major groups of ions and patterns of behavior andmaintains bulk chemical properties likemore »carbon oxidation state that can beuseful for modeling. The continuum of kinetic behavior observed in a typicalchamber experiment can be parameterized by fitting species' time traces tothe GKP, which approximates the chemistry as a linear, first-order kineticsystem. The fitted parameters for each species are the number of reaction stepswith OH needed to produce the species (the generation) and an effectivekinetic rate constant that describes the formation and loss rates of thespecies. The thousands of species detected in a typical laboratory chamberexperiment can be organized into a much smaller number (10–30) of groups,each of which has a characteristic chemical composition and kinetic behavior.This quantitative relationship between chemical and kinetic characteristics,and the significant reduction in the complexity of the system, provides anapproach to understanding broad patterns of behavior in oxidation systemsand could be exploited for mechanism development and atmospheric chemistrymodeling.« less
  2. Abstract. Chemical ionization massspectrometry (CIMS) instruments routinely detect hundreds of oxidized organic compoundsin the atmosphere. A major limitation of these instruments is the uncertaintyin their sensitivity to many of the detected ions. We describe thedevelopment of a new high-resolution time-of-flight chemical ionization massspectrometer that operates in one of two ionization modes: using eitherammonium ion ligand-switching reactions such as for NH4+ CIMS orproton transfer reactions such as for proton-transfer-reaction massspectrometer (PTR-MS). Switching between the modes can be done within 2 min.The NH4+ CIMS mode of the new instrument has sensitivities of upto 67 000 dcps ppbv−1 (duty-cycle-corrected ion counts per second perpart per billion by volume) and detection limits between 1 and 60 pptv at2σ for a 1 s integration time for numerous oxygenated volatileorganic compounds. We present a mass spectrometric voltage scanning procedurebased on collision-induced dissociation that allows us to determine thestability of ammonium-organic ions detected by the NH4+more »xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xlink:href="amt-12-1861-2019-ie00005.svg" width="24pt" height="15pt" src="amt-12-1861-2019-ie00005.png"/> CIMS instrument.Using this procedure, we can effectively constrain the sensitivity of theammonia chemical ionization mass spectrometer to a wide range of detectedoxidized volatile organic compounds for which no calibration standards exist.We demonstrate the application of this procedure by quantifying thecomposition of secondary organic aerosols in a series of laboratoryexperiments.

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  3. Abstract. Gas-phase atmospheric concentrations of peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN),peroxypropionyl nitrate (PPN), and peroxymethacryloyl nitrate (MPAN) weremeasured on the ground using a gas chromatograph electron capture detector(GC-ECD) during the Southern Oxidants and Aerosols Study (SOAS) 2013 campaign(1 June to 15 July 2013) in Centreville, Alabama, in order to studybiosphere–atmosphere interactions. Average levels of PAN, PPN, and MPAN were169, 5, and 9 pptv, respectively, and the sum accounts for an average of16 % of NOy during the daytime (10:00 to 16:00 localtime). Higher concentrations were seen on average in air that came to thesite from the urban NOx sources to the north. PAN levelswere the lowest observed in ground measurements over the past two decades inthe southeastern US. A multiple regression analysis indicates that biogenicvolatile organic compounds (VOCs) account for 66 % of PAN formationduring this study. Comparison of this value with a 0-D model simulation ofperoxyacetyl radical production indicates that at least 50 % of PANformation is due to isoprene oxidation. MPAN has a statistical correlationwith isoprene hydroxynitrates (IN). Organic aerosol mass increases withgas-phase MPAN and IN concentrations, but the mass of organic nitrates inparticles is largely unrelated to MPAN.

  4. Abstract. Aromatic hydrocarbons make up a large fraction of anthropogenic volatile organic compounds and contribute significantly to the production of tropospheric ozone and secondary organic aerosol (SOA). Four toluene and four 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene (1,2,4-TMB) photooxidation experiments were performed in an environmental chamber under relevantpolluted conditions (NOx∼10 ppb). An extensive suite of instrumentation including two proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometers (PTR-MS) and two chemical ionisation mass spectrometers (NH4+ CIMS and I− CIMS) allowed for quantification of reactive carbon in multiple generations of hydroxyl radical (OH)-initiated oxidation. Oxidation of both species produces ring-retaining products such as cresols, benzaldehydes, and bicyclic intermediate compounds, as well as ring-scission products such as epoxides and dicarbonyls. We show that the oxidation of bicyclic intermediate products leads to the formation of compounds with high oxygen content (an O:C ratio of up to 1.1). These compounds, previously identified as highly oxygenated molecules (HOMs), are produced by more than one pathway with differing numbers of reaction steps with OH, including both auto-oxidation and phenolic pathways. We report the elemental composition of these compounds formed under relevant urban high-NO conditions. We show that ring-retaining products for these two precursors are more diverse and abundant than predicted by current mechanisms. We present the speciated elemental composition of SOA for both precursorsmore »and confirm that highly oxygenated products make up a significant fraction of SOA. Ring-scission products are also detected in both the gas and particle phases, and their yields and speciation generally agree with the kinetic model prediction.« less
  5. Abstract. Chamber oxidation experiments conducted at the Fire Sciences Laboratory in 2016 are evaluated to identify important chemical processes contributing to the hydroxy radical (OH) chemistry of biomass burning non-methane organic gases (NMOGs). Based on the decay of primary carbon measured by proton transfer reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS), it is confirmed that furans and oxygenated aromatics are among the NMOGs emitted from western United States fuel types with the highest reactivities towards OH. The oxidation processes and formation of secondary NMOG masses measured by PTR-ToF-MS and iodide-clustering time-of-flight chemical ionization mass spectrometry (I-CIMS) is interpreted using a box model employing a modified version of the Master Chemical Mechanism (v. 3.3.1) that includes the OH oxidation of furan, 2-methylfuran, 2,5-dimethylfuran, furfural, 5-methylfurfural, and guaiacol. The model supports the assignment of major PTR-ToF-MS and I-CIMS signals to a series of anhydrides and hydroxy furanones formed primarily through furan chemistry. This mechanism is applied to a Lagrangian box model used previously to model a real biomass burning plume. The customized mechanism reproduces the decay of furans and oxygenated aromatics and the formation of secondary NMOGs, such as maleic anhydride. Based on model simulations conducted with and without furans, it is estimated that furansmore »contributed up to 10 % of ozone and over 90 % of maleic anhydride formed within the first 4 h of oxidation. It is shown that maleic anhydride is present in a biomass burning plume transported over several days, which demonstrates the utility of anhydrides as markers for aged biomass burning plumes.« less