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  1. Abstract. Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) constitutes a largefraction of atmospheric aerosol. To assess its impacts on climate and airpollution, knowledge of the number of phases in internal mixtures ofdifferent SOA types is required. Atmospheric models often assume thatdifferent SOA types form a single phase when mixed. Here, we present visualobservations of the number of phases formed after mixing differentanthropogenic and biogenic SOA types. Mixing SOA types generated inenvironmental chambers with oxygen-to-carbon (O/C) ratios between 0.34 and 1.05, we found 6 out of 15 mixtures of two SOA types to result in two phase particles. We demonstrate that the number of phases depends on thedifference in the average O/C ratio between the two SOA types (Δ(O/C)). Using a threshold Δ(O/C) of 0.47, we can predict the phasebehavior of over 90 % of our mixtures, with one- and two-phase particlespredicted for Δ(O/C)<0.47 and Δ(O/C)≥0.47,respectively. This threshold ΔO/C value provides a simple parameterto predict whether mixtures of fresh and aged SOA form one- or two-phase particles in the atmosphere. In addition, we show that phase-separated SOAparticles form when mixtures of volatile organic compounds emitted from realtrees are oxidized. 
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