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Aerosol Chemistry Resolved by Mass Spectrometry: Insights into Particle Growth after Ambient New Particle Formation

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Schneider,  J.
Particle Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Klimach,  T.
Particle Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Vogel, A. L., Schneider, J., Mueller-Tautges, C., Klimach, T., & Hoffmann, T. (2016). Aerosol Chemistry Resolved by Mass Spectrometry: Insights into Particle Growth after Ambient New Particle Formation. Environmental Science & Technology, 50(20), 10814-10822. doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b01673.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002C-E657-7
Abstract
Atmospheric oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) yields a large number of different organic molecules which comprise a wide range of volatility. Depending on their volatility, they can be involved in new particle formation and particle growth, thus affecting the number concentration of cloud condensation nuclei in the atmosphere. Here, we identified oxidation products of VOCs in the particle phase during a field study at a rural mountaintop station in central Germany. We used atmospheric pressure chemical ionization mass spectrometry ((-)APCI-MS) and aerosol mass spectrometry for time-resolved measurements of organic species and of the total organic aerosol (OA) mass in the size range of 0.02-2.5 and 0.05-0.6 mu m, respectively. The elemental composition of organic molecules was determined by offline analysis of colocated PM 2.5 filter samples using liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray ionization ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry. We found extremely low volatile organic compounds, likely from sesquiterpene oxidation, being the predominant signals in the (-)APCI-MS mass spectrum during new particle formation. Low volatile organic compounds started to dominate the spectrum when the newly formed particles were growing to larger diameters. Furthermore, the APCI-MS mass spectra pattern indicated that the average molecular weight of the OA fraction ranged between 270 and 340 amu, being inversely related to OA mass. Our observations can help further the understanding of which biogenic precursors and which chemical processes drive particle growth after atmospheric new-particle formation.