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Published May 14, 2015 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Secondary Organic Aerosol Composition from C₁₂ Alkanes


The effects of structure, NO_x conditions, relative humidity, and aerosol acidity on the chemical composition of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) are reported for the photooxidation of three C_(12) alkanes: n-dodecane, cyclododecane, and hexylcyclohexane. Acidity was modified through seed particle composition: NaCl, (NH_4)_2SO_4, and (NH_4)_2SO_4 + H_2SO_4. Off-line analysis of SOA was carried out by solvent extraction and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and direct analysis in real-time mass spectrometry. We report here 750 individual masses of SOA products identified from these three alkane systems and 324 isomers resolved by GC/MS analysis. The chemical compositions for each alkane system provide compelling evidence of particle-phase chemistry, including reactions leading to oligomer formation. Major oligomeric species for alkane SOA are peroxyhemiacetals, hemiacetals, esters, and aldol condensation products. Furans, dihydrofurans, hydroxycarbonyls, and their corresponding imine analogues are important participants in these oligomer-producing reactions. Imines are formed in the particle phase from the reaction of the ammonium sulfate seed aerosol with carbonyl-bearing compounds present in all the SOA systems. Under high-NO conditions, organonitrate products can lead to an increase of aerosol volume concentration by up to a factor of 5 over that in low-NO conditions. Structure was found to play a key role in determining the degree of functionalization and fragmentation of the parent alkane, influencing the mean molecular weight of the SOA produced and the mean atomic O:C ratio.

Additional Information

© 2014 American Chemical Society. Received: February 19, 2014; Revised: May 8, 2014; Published: May 9, 2014. The authors thank Mark S. Andersen of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Kathleen T. Upton and Jesse L. Beauchamp of the California Institute of Technology for experimental assistance with DART-MS. This research was funded by U.S. Department of Energy Grant DE-SC 0006626 and National Science Foundation Grant AGS-1057183. K.A.S.F. acknowledges support from a Department of Defense Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation Fellowship.

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