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Measurements of higher alkanes using NO+ chemical ionization in PTR-ToF-MS: important contributions of higher alkanes to secondary organic aerosols in China

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Su,  Hang
Multiphase Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Cheng,  Yafang
Multiphase Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Wang, C., Yuan, B., Wu, C., Wang, S., Qi, J., Wang, B., et al. (2020). Measurements of higher alkanes using NO+ chemical ionization in PTR-ToF-MS: important contributions of higher alkanes to secondary organic aerosols in China. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 20(22), 14123-14138. doi:10.5194/acp-20-14123-2020.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-9FDA-1
Abstract
Higher alkanes are a major class of intermediate-volatility organic compounds (IVOCs), which have been proposed to be important precursors of secondary organic aerosols (SOA) in the atmosphere. Accurate estimation of SOA from higher alkanes and their oxidation processes in the atmosphere is limited, partially due to the difficulty of their measurement. High-time-resolution (10 s) measurements of higher alkanes were performed using NO+ chemical ionization in proton transfer reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometry (NO+ PTR-ToF-MS) at an urban site in Guangzhou in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) and at a rural site in the North China Plain (NCP). High concentrations were observed in both environments, with significant diurnal variations. At both sites, SOA production from higher alkanes is estimated from their photochemical losses and SOA yields. Higher alkanes account for significant fractions of SOA formation at the two sites, with average contributions of 7.0 % ± 8.0 % in Guangzhou and 9.4 % ± 9.1 % in NCP, which are comparable to or even higher than both single-ring aromatics and naphthalenes. The significant contributions of higher alkanes to SOA formation suggests that they should be explicitly included in current models for SOA formation. Our work also highlights the importance of NO+ PTR-ToF-MS in measuring higher alkanes and quantifying their contributions to SOA formation.