Direct contribution of ammonia to α-pinene secondary organic aerosol formation

Hao, Liqing; Kari, Eetu; Leskinen, Ari; Worsnop, Douglas R.; Virtanen, Annele

Ammonia (NHinline-formula3), a gaseous compound ubiquitously present in the atmosphere, is involved in the formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA), but the exact mechanism is still not well known. This study presents the results of SOA experiments from the photooxidation of inline-formulaα-pinene in the presence of NHinline-formula3 in the reaction chamber. SOA was formed in in nucleation experiments and in seeded experiments with ammonium sulfate particles as seeds. The chemical composition and time series of compounds in the gas and particle phase were characterized by an online high-resolution time-of-flight proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometer (HR-ToF-PTRMS) and a high-resolution time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS), respectively. Our results show that the mass concentration of ammonium (NHinline-formula M6inlinescrollmathml normal 4 + 8pt15ptsvg-formulamathimg3fe22ea21bb8c3940d1d54b092ea883d acp-20-14393-2020-ie00001.svg8pt15ptacp-20-14393-2020-ie00001.png ) was still rising even after the mass concentration of the organic component started to decrease due to aerosol wall deposition and evaporation, implying the continuous new formation of particle-phase ammonium in the process. Stoichiometric neutralization analysis of aerosol indicates that organic acids have a central role in the formation of particle-phase ammonium. Our measurements show a good correlation between the gas-phase organic mono- and dicarboxylic acids formed in the photooxidation of inline-formulaα-pinene and the ammonium in the particle phase, thus highlighting the contribution of gas-phase organic acids to the ammonium formation. The work shows that the gas-phase organic acids contribute to the SOA formation by forming organic ammonium salts through acid–base reaction. The changes in aerosol mass, particle size and chemical composition resulting from the NHinline-formula3–SOA interaction can potentially alter the aerosol direct and indirect forcing and therefore alter its impact on climate change.

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Hao, Liqing / Kari, Eetu / Leskinen, Ari / et al: Direct contribution of ammonia to α-pinene secondary organic aerosol formation. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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