Morphology of Mixed Primary and Secondary Organic Particles and the Adsorption of Spectator Organic Gases During Aerosol Formation

Alla Zelenyuk-Imre Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Timothy Vaden Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Chen Song Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Rahul Zaveri Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Dan Imre Imre Consulting

Category: Aerosol Properties

Working Group: Aerosol Life Cycle

Primary organic aerosol (POA) and associated vapors can play an important role in determining the formation and properties of secondary organic aerosol (SOA). If SOA and POA are miscible, POA will significantly enhance SOA formation, and some POA vapor will incorporate into SOA particles. When the two are not miscible, condensation of SOA on POA particles forms particles with complex morphology. In addition, POA vapor can adsorb to the surface of SOA particles, increasing their mass and affecting their evaporation rates. To gain insight into SOA/POA interactions, we present a detailed experimental investigation of the morphologies of SOA particles formed during ozonolysis of α-pinene in the presence of dioctyl phthalate (DOP) particles, serving as a simplified model of hydrophobic POA, using a single particle mass spectrometer. Ultraviolet (UV) laser depth-profiling experiments were used to characterize two different types of mixed SOA/DOP particles: those formed by condensation of the oxidized α-pinene products on size-selected DOP particles, and those formed by condensation of DOP on size-selected α-pinene SOA particles. The results show that the hydrophilic SOA and hydrophobic DOP do not mix, but instead form layered phases. In addition, an examination of homogeneously nucleated SOA particles formed in the presence of DOP vapor shows them to have an adsorbed DOP coating layer that is ~4 nm thick and caries 12% of the particle’s mass. These results may have implications for SOA formation and behavior in the atmosphere, where numerous organic compounds with various volatilities and different polarities are present.

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