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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2025
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 24, 2025
  3. Abstract Number: 327 Working Group: Aerosol Chemistry Abstract Low-pH aerosols comprise a large fraction of atmospheric fine particulate matter. The effects of pH on secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation are not well understood, in part because of the difficulty of accurately measuring aerosol pH. Of particular interest are the atmospherically-abundant isoprene epoxydiols (IEPOX), which undergo acid-driven reactions to form SOA. Models have assumed no upper limit for IEPOX-SOA formation rates as acidity increases. However, recent work has shown that organosulfate formation from IEPOX slows as the equilibrium of inorganic sulfate (Sulfinorg) shifts from sulfate (SO42-) towards bisulfate (HSO4-), which is a weaker nucleophile. We performed a series of trans-ß-IEPOX uptake experiments with ammonium sulfate seed solutions acidified to between pH 0 and 3, and modelled time-resolved methyltetrol (MT) and methyltetrol sulfate (MTS) formation and Sulfinorg consumption (kMT = 0.018 M-2 s-1, kMTS = 0.28 M-2 s-1). We found an inflection point between pH 1 and 1.4, below which MT formation dominates and above which MTS formation dominates, consistent with a changing balance of protonated and deprotonated Sulfinorg. Modelled MT and MTS formation fit the experimental data well both above and below the inflection point except at pH 1.4, where it significantly underpredicted the data at low initial IEPOX/Sulfinorg ratios. This indicates multi-phase chemical dynamics beyond those represented in our model, leading to very efficient IEPOX-SOA formation at pH 1.4. Further investigation is warranted into the connection of IEPOX-SOA formation with initial IEPOX/Sulfinorg ratio and aerosol pH. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 2, 2024
  4. Isoprene, the largest non-methane volatile organic species emitted into Earth’s atmosphere, reacts with hydroxyl radicals to initiate formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA). Under low nitric oxide conditions, the major oxidative pathway proceeds through acid catalyzed reactive uptake of isoprene-epoxydiol isomers (IEPOX). We have recently established the structures of the semivolatile C5H10O3 uptake products (formerly designated “C5-alkene triols) of cis- and trans-β-IEPOX as 3-methylenebutane-1,2,4-triol and isomeric 3-methyltetrahydrofuran-2,4-diols. Importantly, both uptake products showed significant partitioning into the gas phase. Here, we report evidence that the uptake products along with their gas phase oxidation products constitute a hitherto unrecognized source of SOA. We show that partitioning into the gas phase results in further oxidation into low volatility products, including highly oxygenated C5-polyols, organosulfates, and dimers. In the chamber studies, gas phase products were characterized by online by iodide-Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometry (I-CIMS) and particle phase products by offline analysis of filter extracts by HILIC/(-)ESI-HR-QTOFMS using authentic standards. The chamber studies show the potential for a substantial contribution to SOA from reactive uptake of the second generation gas phase oxidation products onto both acidified and non-acidified ammonium bisulfate seed aerosols. Identification of these previously unrecognized early-generation oxidation products will improve estimates of atmospheric carbon distribution and advance our understanding of the fate of isoprene oxidation products in the atmosphere. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 2, 2024
  5. Abstract Number: 99 Working Group: Aerosol Chemistry Abstract Isoprene, the largest non-methane volatile organic species emitted into Earth’s atmosphere, reacts with hydroxyl radicals to initiate formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA). Under low nitric oxide conditions, the major oxidative pathway proceeds through acid catalyzed reactive uptake of isoprene-epoxydiol isomers (IEPOX). We have recently established the structures of the semivolatile C5H10O3 uptake products (formerly designated “C5-alkene triols) of cis- and trans-β-IEPOX as 3-methylenebutane-1,2,4-triol and isomeric 3-methyltetrahydrofuran-2,4-diols. Importantly, both uptake products showed significant partitioning into the gas phase. Here, we report evidence that the uptake products along with their gas phase oxidation products constitute a hitherto unrecognized source of SOA. We show that partitioning into the gas phase results in further oxidation into low volatility products, including highly oxygenated C5-polyols, organosulfates, and dimers. In the chamber studies, gas phase products were characterized by online by iodide-Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometry (I-CIMS) and particle phase products by offline analysis of filter extracts by HILIC/(-)ESI-HR-QTOFMS using authentic standards. The chamber studies show the potential for a substantial contribution to SOA from reactive uptake of the second generation gas phase oxidation products onto both acidified and non-acidified ammonium bisulfate seed aerosols. Identification of these previously unrecognized early-generation oxidation products will improve estimates of atmospheric carbon distribution and advance our understanding of the fate of isoprene oxidation products in the atmosphere. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 2, 2024
  6. Abstract Number: 51 Working Group: Aerosol Chemistry Abstract Isoprene, a volatile organic compound (VOC) is emitted largely by vegetation at a rate of 512 Tg/yr. Based on theoretical calculations and mass spectrometric evidence, Z-δ-hydroperoxyalkenal structures (HPALD1 and HPALD2) have been assigned to C5H8O3 gas-phase compounds accounting for up to 12% of the total first-generation isoprene oxidation products. The putative HPALDs are conjugated carbonyls expected to have a significant absorption cross section at ambient UV wavelengths (> 315 nm). Fast internal energy transfer from the excited alkenal to the O-OH bond is predicted to cause rapid bond dissociation degradation into volatile fragments, with little or no formation of SOA. We undertook synthesis of HPALD2 to verify the structure assigned solely from mass spectrometry. By proton NMR, HPALD2 exists exclusively as the peroxyhemiacetal tautomer, with no carbonyl detected, even in D2O. Tautomerization to the cyclic peroxyhemiacetal is strongly favored by the Z geometry of HPALD2. The peroxyhemiacetal structure of the isoprene photochemical oxidation product was confirmed by matching the IMS drift time of the synthetic standard with a major C5H8O3 product from hydroxyl radical oxidation of isoprene. Lacking the conjugated chromophore, the peroxyhemiacetal does not absorb at > 250 nm will persist at ambient UV wavelengths. In chamber experiments, OH oxidation caused rapid nucleation in the absence of seed, and reactive uptake in the presence of both (NH4)2SO4 and (NH4)HSO4 seed. Products at m/z C5H8O5, C5H10O5, C5H10O6 were detected by on-line monitoring of the gas phase by an iodide-CIMS-high resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometer (HR-ToF-MS). Analysis of filter extracts by hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography coupled to an electrospray ionization HR-ToF-MS detector operated in the negative mode showed major products with compositions C5H10O5 in all experiments, and major sulfated products with compositions C5H10O8S and C3H6O6S in seeded experiments. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 2, 2024
  7. Isoprene, a volatile organic compound (VOC) is emitted largely by vegetation at a rate of 512 Tg/yr. Based on theoretical calculations and mass spectrometric evidence, Z-δ-hydroperoxyalkenal structures (HPALD1 and HPALD2) have been assigned to C5H8O3 gas-phase compounds accounting for up to 12% of the total first-generation isoprene oxidation products. The putative HPALDs are conjugated carbonyls expected to have a significant absorption cross section at ambient UV wavelengths (> 315 nm). Fast internal energy transfer from the excited alkenal to the O-OH bond is predicted to cause rapid bond dissociation degradation into volatile fragments, with little or no formation of SOA. We undertook synthesis of HPALD2 to verify the structure assigned solely from mass spectrometry. By proton NMR, HPALD2 exists exclusively as the peroxyhemiacetal tautomer, with no carbonyl detected, even in D2O. Tautomerization to the cyclic peroxyhemiacetal is strongly favored by the Z geometry of HPALD2. The peroxyhemiacetal structure of the isoprene photochemical oxidation product was confirmed by matching the IMS drift time of the synthetic standard with a major C5H8O3 product from hydroxyl radical oxidation of isoprene. Lacking the conjugated chromophore, the peroxyhemiacetal does not absorb at > 250 nm will persist at ambient UV wavelengths. In chamber experiments, OH oxidation caused rapid nucleation in the absence of seed, and reactive uptake in the presence of both (NH4)2SO4 and (NH4)HSO4 seed. Products at m/z C5H8O5, C5H10O5, C5H10O6 were detected by on-line monitoring of the gas phase by an iodide-CIMS-high resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometer (HR-ToF-MS). Analysis of filter extracts by hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography coupled to an electrospray ionization HR-ToF-MS detector operated in the negative mode showed major products with compositions C5H10O5 in all experiments, and major sulfated products with compositions C5H10O8S and C3H6O6S in seeded experiments. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 2, 2024
  8. Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) is composed of a significant fraction of low-volatility high-molecular-weight oligomer products. These species can affect particle viscosity, morphology, and mixing timescales, yet they are not very well understood. While strides have been made in elucidating oligomer formation mechanisms, their degradation is less studied. Previous work suggests that the presence of oligomers may suppress particle mass loss during atmospheric aging by slowing the production high-volatility fragments from monomers. Our work investigates the effects of relative humidity (RH) on oligomer formation in SOA and the effects of hydroxyl radical (·OH) exposure on oligomer degradation. To probe these questions, SOA is generated by the reactive uptake of isoprene epoxydiols (IEPOX) onto acidic ammonium sulfate aerosol in a 2-m3 steady-state chamber, followed by exposure to ·OH in an oxidation flow reactor. We investigate SOA formation at 30-80% RH, which is above and below the deliquescence point of ammonium sulfate. We examine the evolution of SOA bulk chemical composition as well as single-particle physicochemical properties over the course of aging using mass spectrometry-, spectroscopy-, and microscopy-based techniques. An optimized matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) method is used to identify and track the presence of oligomers in SOA over the course of aging. Our research will provide insight about the formation and degradation of oligomers in the atmosphere, which will allow better modeling of their impact on climate. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 2, 2024
  9. The phase state of atmospheric aerosol particles – solid, semi-solid, or liquid – influences their ability to take up water and participate in heterogeneous chemical reactions. Changes in phase state have been predicted by glass transition temperature (Tg) and viscosity; however, direct measurements of these properties is challenging for sub-micron particles. Historically, bulk measurements have been used, but this does not account for particle-to-particle variation or the impacts of particle size. Melting temperature (Tm) is the most significant predictor of Tg, and the two properties can be related through the Boyer-Beaman rule. Herein, we apply a recently developed method utilizing a nano-thermal analysis (nanoTA) module coupled to an atomic force microscope (AFM), to determine the Tm of individual secondary organic aerosol (SOA) particles generated from the reactive uptake of isoprene-derived epoxydiols (IEPOX) onto acidic ammonium sulfate aerosol particles. NanoTA works by using a specialized AFM probe which can be heated while in contact with a particle of interest. As the temperature increases, the probe deflection will first increase due to thermal expansion of the particle followed by a decrease at its Tm. The direct measurements are compared with model predictions based on molecular composition from hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray ionization high-resolution quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (HILIC/ESI-HR-QTOF-MS) analysis. We compared the Tm of the SOA particles formed from IEPOX uptake onto acidic ammonium sulfate particles created at 30, 65, and 80% relative humidity (RH), and found that increasing RH from 30 to 80% led to an overall decrease in average Tm, indicating less viscous particles at higher RH conditions. Our measurements with this technique will allow for more accurate representations of the phase state of aerosols in the atmosphere. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 2, 2024
  10. Low-pH aerosols comprise a large fraction of atmospheric fine particulate matter. The effects of pH on secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation are not well understood, in part because of the difficulty of accurately measuring aerosol pH. Of particular interest are the atmospherically-abundant isoprene epoxydiols (IEPOX), which undergo acid-driven reactions to form SOA. Models have assumed no upper limit for IEPOX-SOA formation rates as acidity increases. However, recent work has shown that organosulfate formation from IEPOX slows as the equilibrium of inorganic sulfate (Sulfinorg) shifts from sulfate (SO42-) towards bisulfate (HSO4-), which is a weaker nucleophile. We performed a series of trans-ß-IEPOX uptake experiments with ammonium sulfate seed solutions acidified to between pH 0 and 3, and modelled time-resolved methyltetrol (MT) and methyltetrol sulfate (MTS) formation and Sulfinorg consumption (kMT = 0.018 M-2 s-1, kMTS = 0.28 M-2 s-1). We found an inflection point between pH 1 and 1.4, below which MT formation dominates and above which MTS formation dominates, consistent with a changing balance of protonated and deprotonated Sulfinorg. Modelled MT and MTS formation fit the experimental data well both above and below the inflection point except at pH 1.4, where it significantly underpredicted the data at low initial IEPOX/Sulfinorg ratios. This indicates multi-phase chemical dynamics beyond those represented in our model, leading to very efficient IEPOX-SOA formation at pH 1.4. Further investigation is warranted into the connection of IEPOX-SOA formation with initial IEPOX/Sulfinorg ratio and aerosol pH. 
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 2, 2024