Research ArticleATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

On the fate of oxygenated organic molecules in atmospheric aerosol particles

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  13 Mar 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 11, eaax8922
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax8922

Abstract

Highly oxygenated organic molecules (HOMs) are formed from the oxidation of biogenic and anthropogenic gases and affect Earth’s climate and air quality by their key role in particle formation and growth. While the formation of these molecules in the gas phase has been extensively studied, the complexity of organic aerosol (OA) and lack of suitable measurement techniques have hindered the investigation of their fate post-condensation, although further reactions have been proposed. We report here novel real-time measurements of these species in the particle phase, achieved using our recently developed extractive electrospray ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometer (EESI-TOF). Our results reveal that condensed-phase reactions rapidly alter OA composition and the contribution of HOMs to the particle mass. In consequence, the atmospheric fate of HOMs cannot be described solely in terms of volatility, but particle-phase reactions must be considered to describe HOM effects on the overall particle life cycle and global carbon budget.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances