Terpenes and their oxidation products in the French Landes forest: insights from Vocus PTR-TOF measurements

Li, Haiyan; Riva, Matthieu; Rantala, Pekka; Heikkinen, Liine; Daellenbach, Kaspar; Krechmer, Jordan E.; Flaud, Pierre-Marie; Worsnop, Douglas; Kulmala, Markku; Villenave, Eric; Perraudin, Emilie; Ehn, Mikael; Bianchi, Federico

The capabilities of the recently developed Vocus proton-transfer-reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometer (PTR-TOF) are reported for the first time based on ambient measurements. With the deployment of the Vocus PTR-TOF, we present an overview of the observed gas-phase (oxygenated) molecules in the French Landes forest during summertime 2018 and gain insights into the atmospheric oxidation of terpenes, which are emitted in large quantities in the atmosphere and play important roles in secondary organic aerosol production. Due to the greatly improved detection efficiency compared to conventional PTR instruments, the Vocus PTR-TOF identifies a large number of gas-phase signals with elemental composition categories including CH, CHO, CHN, CHS, CHON, CHOS, and others. Multiple hydrocarbons are detected, with carbon numbers up to 20. Particularly, we report the first direct observations of low-volatility diterpenes in the ambient air. The diurnal cycle of diterpenes is similar to that of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes but contrary to that of isoprene. Various types of terpene reaction products and intermediates are also characterized. Generally, the more oxidized products from terpene oxidations show a broad peak in the day due to the strong photochemical effects, while the less oxygenated products peak in the early morning and/or in the evening. To evaluate the importance of different formation pathways in terpene chemistry, the reaction rates of terpenes with main oxidants (i.e., hydroxyl radical, OH; ozone, inline-formulaO3; and nitrate radical, inline-formulaNO3) are calculated. For the less oxidized non-nitrate monoterpene oxidation products, their morning and evening peaks have contributions from both inline-formulaO3- and OH-initiated monoterpene oxidation. For the monoterpene-derived organic nitrates, oxidations by inline-formulaO3, OH, and inline-formulaNO3 radicals all contribute to their formation, with their relative roles varying considerably over the course of the day. Through a detailed analysis of terpene chemistry, this study demonstrates the capability of the Vocus PTR-TOF in the detection of a wide range of oxidized reaction products in ambient and remote conditions, which highlights its importance in investigating atmospheric oxidation processes.

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Li, Haiyan / Riva, Matthieu / Rantala, Pekka / et al: Terpenes and their oxidation products in the French Landes forest: insights from Vocus PTR-TOF measurements. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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