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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  2. The main nucleating vapor in the atmosphere is thought to be sulfuric acid (H2SO4), stabilized by ammonia (NH3). However, in marine and polar regions, NH3is generally low, and H2SO4is frequently found together with iodine oxoacids [HIOx, i.e., iodic acid (HIO3) and iodous acid (HIO2)]. In experiments performed with the CERN CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets) chamber, we investigated the interplay of H2SO4and HIOxduring atmospheric particle nucleation. We found that HIOxgreatly enhances H2SO4(-NH3) nucleation through two different interactions. First, HIO3strongly binds with H2SO4in charged clusters so they drive particle nucleation synergistically. Second, HIO2substitutes for NH3, forming strongly bound H2SO4-HIO2acid-base pairs in molecular clusters. Global observations imply that HIOxis enhancing H2SO4(-NH3) nucleation rates 10- to 10,000-fold in marine and polar regions.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 15, 2024
  3. 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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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 8, 2024
  4. Intense new particle formation events are regularly observed under highly polluted conditions, despite the high loss rates of nucleated clusters. Higher than expected cluster survival probability implies either ineffective scavenging by pre-existing particles or missing growth mechanisms. Here we present experiments performed in the CLOUD chamber at CERN showing particle formation from a mixture of anthropogenic vapours, under condensation sinks typical of haze conditions, up to 0.1 s −1 . We find that new particle formation rates substantially decrease at higher concentrations of pre-existing particles, demonstrating experimentally for the first time that molecular clusters are efficiently scavenged by larger sized particles. Additionally, we demonstrate that in the presence of supersaturated gas-phase nitric acid (HNO 3 ) and ammonia (NH 3 ), freshly nucleated particles can grow extremely rapidly, maintaining a high particle number concentration, even in the presence of a high condensation sink. Such high growth rates may explain the high survival probability of freshly formed particles under haze conditions. We identify under what typical urban conditions HNO 3 and NH 3 can be expected to contribute to particle survival during haze. 
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  5. 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 now 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. 
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  6. Abstract New particle formation in the upper free troposphere is a major global source of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) 1–4 . However, the precursor vapours that drive the process are not well understood. With experiments performed under upper tropospheric conditions in the CERN CLOUD chamber, we show that nitric acid, sulfuric acid and ammonia form particles synergistically, at rates that are orders of magnitude faster than those from any two of the three components. The importance of this mechanism depends on the availability of ammonia, which was previously thought to be efficiently scavenged by cloud droplets during convection. However, surprisingly high concentrations of ammonia and ammonium nitrate have recently been observed in the upper troposphere over the Asian monsoon region 5,6 . Once particles have formed, co-condensation of ammonia and abundant nitric acid alone is sufficient to drive rapid growth to CCN sizes with only trace sulfate. Moreover, our measurements show that these CCN are also highly efficient ice nucleating particles—comparable to desert dust. Our model simulations confirm that ammonia is efficiently convected aloft during the Asian monsoon, driving rapid, multi-acid HNO 3 –H 2 SO 4 –NH 3 nucleation in the upper troposphere and producing ice nucleating particles that spread across the mid-latitude Northern Hemisphere. 
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  8. Abstract. Biogenic organic precursors play an important role inatmospheric new particle formation (NPF). One of the major precursor speciesis α-pinene, which upon oxidation can form a suite of productscovering a wide range of volatilities. Highly oxygenated organic molecules(HOMs) comprise a fraction of the oxidation products formed. While it isknown that HOMs contribute to secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation,including NPF, they have not been well studied in newly formed particles dueto their very low mass concentrations. Here we present gas- and particle-phase chemical composition data from experimental studies of α-pinene oxidation, including in the presence of isoprene, at temperatures(−50 and −30 ∘C) and relativehumidities (20 % and 60 %) relevant in the upper free troposphere. Themeasurements took place at the CERN Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets (CLOUD)chamber. The particle chemical composition was analyzed by a thermaldesorption differential mobility analyzer (TD-DMA) coupled to a nitratechemical ionization–atmospheric pressure interface–time-of-flight(CI-APi-TOF) mass spectrometer. CI-APi-TOF was used for particle- and gas-phase measurements, applying the same ionization and detection scheme. Ourmeasurements revealed the presence of C8−10 monomers and C18−20dimers as the major compounds in the particles (diameter up to∼ 100 nm). Particularly, for the system with isoprene added,C5 (C5H10O5−7) and C15 compounds(C15H24O5−10) were detected. This observation is consistentwith the previously observed formation of such compounds in the gas phase. However, although the C5 and C15 compounds do not easily nucleate,our measurements indicate that they can still contribute to the particlegrowth at free tropospheric conditions. For the experiments reported here,most likely isoprene oxidation products enhance the growth of particleslarger than 15 nm. Additionally, we report on the nucleation rates measuredat 1.7 nm (J1.7 nm) and compared with previous studies, we found lowerJ1.7 nm values, very likely due to the higher α-pinene andozone mixing ratios used in the present study. 
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