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Published March 1, 2013 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Secondary Organic Aerosol Coating Formation and Evaporation: Chamber Studies Using Black Carbon Seed Aerosol and the Single-Particle Soot Photometer


We report a protocol for using black carbon (BC) aerosol as the seed for secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation in an environmental chamber. We employ a single-particle soot photometer (SP2) to probe single-particle SOA coating growth dynamics and find that SOA growth on nonspherical BC aerosol is diffusion-limited. Aerosol composition measurements with an Aerodyne high resolution time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) confirm that the presence of BC seed does not alter the composition of SOA as compared to self-nucleated SOA or condensed SOA on ammonium sulfate seed. We employ a 3-wavelength photoacoustic soot spectrometer (PASS-3) to measure optical properties of the systems studied, including fullerene soot as the surrogate BC seed, nucleated naphthalene SOA from high-NO_x photooxidation, and nucleated α-pinene SOA from low-NO_x photooxidation. A core-and-shell Mie scattering model of the light absorption enhancement is in good agreement with measured enhancements for both the low- and high-NO_x α-pinene photooxidation systems, reinforcing the assumption of a core-shell morphology for coated BC particles. A discrepancy between measured and modeled absorption enhancement factors in the naphthalene photooxidation system is attributed to the wavelength-dependence of refractive index of the naphthalene SOA. The coating of high-NO_x α-pinene SOA decreases after reaching a peak thickness during irradiation, reflecting a volatility change in the aerosol, as confirmed by the relative magnitudes of f_(43) and f_(44) in the AMS spectra. The protocol described here provides a framework by which future studies of SOA optical properties and single-particle growth dynamics may be explored in environmental chambers.

Additional Information

© 2013 American Association for Aerosol Research. Received: 23 May 2012. Accepted: 21 Oct 2012. Accepted author version posted online: 30 Nov 2012. Published online: 20 Dec 2012. This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy grant DE-SC0006626.

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