Cloud history can change water–ice–surface interactions of oxide mineral aerosols: a case study on silica

Abdelmonem, Ahmed; Ratnayake, Sanduni; Toner, Jonathan D.; Lützenkirchen, Johannes

Mineral aerosol particles nucleate ice, and many insights have been obtained on water freezing as a function of mineral surface properties such as charge or morphology. Previous studies have mainly focused on pristine samples despite the fact that aerosol particles age under natural atmospheric conditions. For example, an aerosol-containing cloud droplet can go through freeze–melt or evaporation–condensation cycles that change the surface structure, the ionic strength, and pH. Variations in the surface properties of ice-nucleating particles in the atmosphere have been largely overlooked. Here, we use an environmental cell in conjunction with nonlinear spectroscopy (second-harmonic generation) to study the effect of freeze–melt processes on the aqueous chemistry at silica surfaces at low pH. We found that successive freeze–melt cycles disrupt the dissolution equilibrium, substantially changing the surface properties and giving rise to marked variations in the interfacial water structure and the ice nucleation ability of the surface. The degree of order of water molecules, next to the surface, at any temperature during cooling decreases and then increases again with sample aging. Along the aging process, the water ordering–cooling dependence and ice nucleation ability improve continuously.

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Abdelmonem, Ahmed / Ratnayake, Sanduni / Toner, Jonathan D. / et al: Cloud history can change water–ice–surface interactions of oxide mineral aerosols: a case study on silica. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Ahmed Abdelmonem et al.

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