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Evolving mass spectra of the oxidized component of organic aerosol: results from aerosol mass spectrometer analyses of aged diesel emissions

Abstract : The species and chemistry responsible for secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation remain highly uncertain. Laboratory studies of the oxidation of individual, high-flux SOA precursors do not lead to particles with mass spectra (MS) matching those of ambient aged organic material. And, the complexity of real organic particles challenges efforts to identify their chemical origins. We have previously hypothesized that SOA can form from the atmospheric oxidation of a large suite of precursors with varying vapor pressures. Here, we support this hypothesis by using an aerosol mass spectrometer to track the chemical evolution of diesel exhaust as it is photochemically oxidized in an environmental chamber. With explicit knowledge of the condensed-phase MS of the primary emissions from our engine, we are able to decompose each recorded MS into contributing primary and secondary spectra throughout the experiment. We find that the SOA MS becomes increasingly oxidized as a function of time, eventually reaching a final MS that closely resembles that of ambient aged organic particulate matter. This observation is consistent with the idea that lower vapor pressure, semi-volatile organic emissions can form condensable products with fewer generations of oxidation, and therefore, they form relatively less oxidized SOA very quickly.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, July 11, 2007 - 8:00:00 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, September 6, 2018 - 3:26:06 PM
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A. M. Sage, E. A. Weitkamp, A. L. Robinson, N. M. Donahue. Evolving mass spectra of the oxidized component of organic aerosol: results from aerosol mass spectrometer analyses of aged diesel emissions. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, European Geosciences Union, 2007, 7 (4), pp.10065-10096. ⟨hal-00302963⟩

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