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  1. Abstract. We present a novel photolytic source of gas-phase NO3 suitable for use in atmospheric chemistry studies that has several advantages over traditional sources that utilize NO2 + O3 reactions and/or thermal dissociation of dinitrogen pentoxide (N2O5). The method generates NO3 via irradiation of aerated aqueous solutions of ceric ammonium nitrate (CAN, (NH4)2Ce(NO3)6) and nitric acid (HNO3) or sodium nitrate (NaNO3). We present experimental and model characterization of the NO3 formation potential of irradiated CAN / HNO3 and CAN / NaNO3 mixtures containing [CAN] = 10−3 to 1.0 M, [HNO3] = 1.0 to 6.0 M, [NaNO3] = 1.0 to 4.8 M, photon fluxes (I) ranging from 6.9 × 1014 to 1.0 × 1016 photons cm−2 s−1, and irradiation wavelengths ranging from 254 to 421 nm. NO3 mixing ratios ranging from parts per billion to parts per million by volume were achieved using this method. At the CAN solubility limit, maximum [NO3] was achieved using [HNO3] ≈ 3.0 to 6.0 M and UVA radiation (λmax⁡ = 369 nm) in CAN / HNO3 mixtures or [NaNO3] ≥ 1.0 M and UVC radiation (λmax⁡ = 254 nm) in CAN / NaNO3 mixtures. Other reactive nitrogen (NO2, N2O4, N2O5, N2O6, HNO2, HNO3, HNO4) and reactive oxygen (HO2, H2O2) species obtained from the irradiation of ceric nitrate mixtures were measured using a NOx analyzer and an iodide-adduct high-resolution time-of-flight chemical ionization mass spectrometer (HR-ToF-CIMS). To assess the applicability of the method for studies of NO3-initiated oxidative aging processes, we generated and measured the chemical composition of oxygenated volatile organic compounds (OVOCs) and secondary organic aerosol (SOA) from the β-pinene + NO3 reaction using a Filter Inlet for Gases and AEROsols (FIGAERO) coupled to the HR-ToF-CIMS.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 7, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) contributes significantly to ambient fine particulate matter that affects climate and human health. Monoterpenes represent an important class of biogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and their oxidation by nitrate radicals poses a substantial source of SOA globally. Here, we investigate the formation and properties of SOA from nitrate radical oxidation of two common monoterpenes, α-pinene and limonene. When two monoterpenes are oxidized simultaneously, we observe a ~50% enhancement in the formation of SOA from α-pinene and a ~20% reduction in limonene SOA formation. The change in SOA yields is accompanied by pronounced changes in aerosol chemical composition and volatility. These non-linear effects are not observed in a sequential oxidation experiment. Our results highlight that unlike currently assumed in atmospheric models, the interaction of products formed from individual VOCs should be accounted for to accurately describe SOA formation and its climate and health impacts.

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  3. Abstract

    The atmospheric evolution of organic compounds encompasses many thousands of compounds with varying volatility, polarity, and water solubility. The molecular-level chemical composition of this mixture plays a major, yet uncertain, role in its transformations and impacts. Here we perform a non-targeted molecular-level intercomparison of functionalized organic aerosol from three diverse field sites and a chamber. Despite similar bulk composition, we report large molecular-level variability between multi-hour organic aerosol samples at each site, with 66 ± 13% of functionalized compounds differing between consecutive samples. Single precursor environmental laboratory chamber experiments and fully chemically-explicit modeling confirm this variability is due to changes in emitted precursors, chemical age, and/or oxidation conditions. These molecular-level results demonstrate greater compositional variability than is typically observed in less-speciated measurements, such as bulk elemental composition, which tend to show less daily variability. These observations should inform future field and laboratory studies, including assessments of the effects of variability on aerosol properties and ultimately the development of strategic organic aerosol parameterizations for air quality and climate models.

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