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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  2. Abstract Iodine is a reactive trace element in atmospheric chemistry that destroys ozone and nucleates particles. Iodine emissions have tripled since 1950 and are projected to keep increasing with rising O 3 surface concentrations. Although iodic acid (HIO 3 ) is widespread and forms particles more efficiently than sulfuric acid, its gas-phase formation mechanism remains unresolved. Here, in CLOUD atmospheric simulation chamber experiments that generate iodine radicals at atmospherically relevant rates, we show that iodooxy hypoiodite, IOIO, is efficiently converted into HIO 3 via reactions (R1) IOIO + O 3  → IOIO 4 and (R2) IOIO 4  + H 2 O → HIO 3  + HOI +  (1) O 2 . The laboratory-derived reaction rate coefficients are corroborated by theory and shown to explain field observations of daytime HIO 3 in the remote lower free troposphere. The mechanism provides a missing link between iodine sources and particle formation. Because particulate iodate is readily reduced, recycling iodine back into the gas phase, our results suggest a catalytic role of iodine in aerosol formation.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 14, 2023
  3. Abstract. Oxygenated organic molecules (OOMs) are the crucial intermediates linkingvolatile organic compounds (VOCs) to secondary organic aerosols (SOAs) in theatmosphere, but comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of OOMsand their formation from VOCs is still missing. Ambient observations ofOOMs using recently developed mass spectrometry techniques are stilllimited, especially in polluted urban atmospheres where VOCs and oxidants areextremely variable and complex. Here, we investigate OOMs, measured by anitrate-ion-based chemical ionization mass spectrometer at Nanjing ineastern China, through performing positive matrix factorization on binnedmass spectra (binPMF). The binPMF analysis reveals three factors aboutanthropogenic VOC (AVOC) daytime chemistry, three isoprene-relatedfactors, three factors about biogenic VOC (BVOC) nighttime chemistry, andthree factors about nitrated phenols. All factors are influenced by NOxin different ways and to different extents. Over 1000 non-nitro moleculeshave been identified and then reconstructed from the selected solution ofbinPMF, and about 72 % of the total signals are contributed bynitrogen-containing OOMs, mostly regarded as organic nitrates formed throughperoxy radicals terminated by nitric oxide or nitrate-radical-initiatedoxidations. Moreover, multi-nitrates account for about 24 % of the totalsignals, indicating the significant presence of multiple generations,especially for isoprene (e.g., C5H10O8N2 andC5H9O10N3). Additionally, the distribution of OOMconcentration on the carbon number confirms their precursors are driven by AVOCsmixed with enhanced BVOCsmore »during summer. Our results highlight the decisiverole of NOx in OOM formation in densely populated areas, and we encouragemore studies on the dramatic interactions between anthropogenic and biogenicemissions.« less
  4. Aerosol particles negatively affect human health while also having climatic relevance due to, for example, their ability to act as cloud condensation nuclei. Ultrafine particles (diameter D p < 100 nm) typically comprise the largest fraction of the total number concentration, however, their chemical characterization is difficult because of their low mass. Using an extractive electrospray time-of-flight mass spectrometer (EESI-TOF), we characterize the molecular composition of freshly nucleated particles from naphthalene and β-caryophyllene oxidation products at the CLOUD chamber at CERN. We perform a detailed intercomparison of the organic aerosol chemical composition measured by the EESI-TOF and an iodide adduct chemical ionization mass spectrometer equipped with a filter inlet for gases and aerosols (FIGAERO-I-CIMS). We also use an aerosol growth model based on the condensation of organic vapors to show that the chemical composition measured by the EESI-TOF is consistent with the expected condensed oxidation products. This agreement could be further improved by constraining the EESI-TOF compound-specific sensitivity or considering condensed-phase processes. Our results show that the EESI-TOF can obtain the chemical composition of particles as small as 20 nm in diameter with mass loadings as low as hundreds of ng m −3 in real time. This was until nowmore »difficult to achieve, as other online instruments are often limited by size cutoffs, ionization/thermal fragmentation and/or semi-continuous sampling. Using real-time simultaneous gas- and particle-phase data, we discuss the condensation of naphthalene oxidation products on a molecular level.« less
  5. Intense and frequent new particle formation (NPF) events have been observed in polluted urban environments, yet the dominant mechanisms are still under debate. To understand the key species and governing processes of NPF in polluted urban environments, we conducted comprehensive measurements in downtown Beijing during January–March, 2018. We performed detailed analyses on sulfuric acid cluster composition and budget, as well as the chemical and physical properties of oxidized organic molecules (OOMs). Our results demonstrate that the fast clustering of sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and base molecules triggered the NPF events, and OOMs further helped grow the newly formed particles toward climate- and health-relevant sizes. This synergistic role of H2SO4, base species, and OOMs in NPF is likely representative of polluted urban environments where abundant H2SO4 and base species usually co-exist, and OOMs are with moderately low volatility when produced under high NOx concentrations.
  6. Abstract. New particle formation (NPF) is a significant source of atmosphericparticles, affecting climate and air quality. Understanding the mechanismsinvolved in urban aerosols is important to develop effective mitigationstrategies. However, NPF rates reported in the polluted boundary layer spanmore than 4 orders of magnitude, and the reasons behind this variability are the subject of intense scientific debate. Multiple atmospheric vapours have beenpostulated to participate in NPF, including sulfuric acid, ammonia, aminesand organics, but their relative roles remain unclear. We investigated NPFin the CLOUD chamber using mixtures of anthropogenic vapours that simulatepolluted boundary layer conditions. We demonstrate that NPF in pollutedenvironments is largely driven by the formation of sulfuric acid–baseclusters, stabilized by the presence of amines, high ammonia concentrationsand lower temperatures. Aromatic oxidation products, despite their extremelylow volatility, play a minor role in NPF in the chosen urban environment butcan be important for particle growth and hence for the survival of newlyformed particles. Our measurements quantitatively account for NPF in highlydiverse urban environments and explain its large observed variability. Suchquantitative information obtained under controlled laboratory conditionswill help the interpretation of future ambient observations of NPF rates inpolluted atmospheres.
  7. Iodic acid (HIO 3 ) is known to form aerosol particles in coastal marine regions, but predicted nucleation and growth rates are lacking. Using the CERN CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets) chamber, we find that the nucleation rates of HIO 3 particles are rapid, even exceeding sulfuric acid–ammonia rates under similar conditions. We also find that ion-induced nucleation involves IO 3 − and the sequential addition of HIO 3 and that it proceeds at the kinetic limit below +10°C. In contrast, neutral nucleation involves the repeated sequential addition of iodous acid (HIO 2 ) followed by HIO 3 , showing that HIO 2 plays a key stabilizing role. Freshly formed particles are composed almost entirely of HIO 3 , which drives rapid particle growth at the kinetic limit. Our measurements indicate that iodine oxoacid particle formation can compete with sulfuric acid in pristine regions of the atmosphere.
  8. Abstract. In the present-day atmosphere, sulfuric acid is the mostimportant vapour for aerosol particle formation and initial growth. However,the growth rates of nanoparticles (<10 nm) from sulfuric acidremain poorly measured. Therefore, the effect of stabilizing bases, thecontribution of ions and the impact of attractive forces on molecularcollisions are under debate. Here, we present precise growth ratemeasurements of uncharged sulfuric acid particles from 1.8 to 10 nm, performedunder atmospheric conditions in the CERN (EuropeanOrganization for Nuclear Research) CLOUD chamber. Our results showthat the evaporation of sulfuric acid particles above 2 nm is negligible,and growth proceeds kinetically even at low ammonia concentrations. Theexperimental growth rates exceed the hard-sphere kinetic limit for thecondensation of sulfuric acid. We demonstrate that this results fromvan der Waals forces between the vapour molecules and particles anddisentangle it from charge–dipole interactions. The magnitude of theenhancement depends on the assumed particle hydration and collisionkinetics but is increasingly important at smaller sizes, resulting in asteep rise in the observed growth rates with decreasing size. Including theexperimental results in a global model, we find that the enhanced growth rate ofsulfuric acid particles increases the predicted particle number concentrationsin the upper free troposphere by more than 50 %.