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Response of an aerosol mass spectrometer to organonitrates and organosulfates and implications for atmospheric chemistry

Farmer, D. K. and Matsunaga, A. and Docherty, K. S. and Surratt, J. D. and Seinfeld, J. H. and Ziemann, P. J. and Jimenez, J. L. (2010) Response of an aerosol mass spectrometer to organonitrates and organosulfates and implications for atmospheric chemistry. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107 (15). pp. 6670-6675. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC2872396.

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Organonitrates (ON) are important products of gas-phase oxidation of volatile organic compounds in the troposphere; some models predict, and laboratory studies show, the formation of large, multifunctional ON with vapor pressures low enough to partition to the particle phase. Organosulfates (OS) have also been recently detected in secondary organic aerosol. Despite their potential importance, ON and OS remain a nearly unexplored aspect of atmospheric chemistry because few studies have quantified particulate ON or OS in ambient air. We report the response of a high-resolution time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) to aerosol ON and OS standards and mixtures. We quantify the potentially substantial underestimation of organic aerosol O/C, commonly used as a metric for aging, and N/C. Most of the ON-nitrogen appears as NO_x^+ ions in the AMS, which are typically dominated by inorganic nitrate. Minor organonitrogen ions are observed although their identity and intensity vary between standards. We evaluate the potential for using NO_x^+ fragment ratios, organonitrogen ions, HNO_3^+ ions, the ammonium balance of the nominally inorganic ions, and comparison to ion-chromatography instruments to constrain the concentrations of ON for ambient datasets, and apply these techniques to a field study in Riverside, CA. OS manifests as separate organic and sulfate components in the AMS with minimal organosulfur fragments and little difference in fragmentation from inorganic sulfate. The low thermal stability of ON and OS likely causes similar detection difficulties for other aerosol mass spectrometers using vaporization and/or ionization techniques with similar or larger energy, which has likely led to an underappreciation of these species.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle CentralArticle
Surratt, J. D.0000-0002-6833-1450
Seinfeld, J. H.0000-0003-1344-4068
Jimenez, J. L.0000-0001-6203-1847
Additional Information:© 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences. Edited by Barbara J. Finlayson-Pitts, University of California, Irvine, CA, and approved January 29, 2010 (received for review October 25, 2009). Published online before print March 1, 2010. This study was funded by National Science Foundation Grants ATM 0449815 and 0650061, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Grant NA08OAR4310565, and Department of Energy Biological and Environmental Research/Atmospheric Science Program Grant DEFG0208ER64627. We thank D. Eatough (Brigham Young University) for the ion chromatography data. We thank J. Kroll, B. Finlayson-Pitts, and two anonymous reviewers for useful suggestions. Author contributions: D.K.F. and J.L.J. designed research; D.K.F. and A.M. performed research; A.M., J.D.S., J.H.S., and P.J.Z. contributed new reagents/analytic tools; D.K.F., K.S.D., and J.L.J. analyzed data; and D.K.F. and J.L.J. wrote the paper.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)NA08OAR4310565
Department of Energy (DOE)DEFG0208ER64627
Subject Keywords:atmospheric chemistry; organic aerosol; organic nitrate; organic sulfate; SOA
Issue or Number:15
PubMed Central ID:PMC2872396
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100525-150120905
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:18438
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:25 May 2010 22:49
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 01:42

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