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  1. Abstract Understanding the chemical and physical properties of particles is an important scientific, engineering, and medical issue that is crucial to air quality, human health, and environmental chemistry. Of special interest are aerosol particles floating in the air for both indoor virus transmission and outdoor atmospheric chemistry. The growth of bio- and organic-aerosol particles in the air is intimately correlated with chemical structures and their reactions in the gas phase at aerosol particle surfaces and in-particle phases. However, direct measurements of chemical structures at aerosol particle surfaces in the air are lacking. Here we demonstrate in situ surface-specific vibrational sum frequency scattering (VSFS) to directly identify chemical structures of molecules at aerosol particle surfaces. Furthermore, our setup allows us to simultaneously probe hyper-Raman scattering (HRS) spectra in the particle phase. We examined polarized VSFS spectra of propionic acid at aerosol particle surfaces and in particle bulk. More importantly, the surface adsorption free energy of propionic acid onto aerosol particles was found to be less negative than that at the air/water interface. These results challenge the long-standing hypothesis that molecular behaviors at the air/water interface are the same as those at aerosol particle surfaces. Our approach opens a new avenue inmore »revealing surface compositions and chemical aging in the formation of secondary organic aerosols in the atmosphere as well as chemical analysis of indoor and outdoor viral aerosol particles.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  2. Interactions of electronic and vibrational degrees of freedom are essential for understanding excited-states relaxation pathways of molecular systems at interfaces and surfaces. Here, we present the development of interface-specific two-dimensional electronic–vibrational sum frequency generation (2D-EVSFG) spectroscopy for electronic–vibrational couplings for excited states at interfaces and surfaces. We demonstrate this 2D-EVSFG technique by investigating photoexcited interface-active ( E )-4-((4-(dihexylamino) phenyl)diazinyl)-1-methylpyridin-1- lum (AP3) molecules at the air–water interface as an example. Our 2D-EVSFG experiments show strong vibronic couplings of interfacial AP3 molecules upon photoexcitation and subsequent relaxation of a locally excited (LE) state. Time-dependent 2D-EVSFG experiments indicate that the relaxation of the LE state, S 2 , is strongly coupled with two high-frequency modes of 1,529.1 and 1,568.1 cm −1 . Quantum chemistry calculations further verify that the strong vibronic couplings of the two vibrations promote the transition from the S 2 state to the lower excited state S 1 . We believe that this development of 2D-EVSFG opens up an avenue of understanding excited-state dynamics related to interfaces and surfaces.