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Alumina is an important component of airborne dust particles as well as of building materials and soils found in the tropospheric boundary layer. While the uptake and reactions of oxides of nitrogen and their photochemistry on alumina have been reported in the past, little is known about the chemistry when organics are also present. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy at 23 °C was used to study reactions of NO2 on γ-Al2O3 particles that had been derivatized using 7-octenyltrichlorosilane to form a self-assembled monolayer (SAM). For comparison, the reactions with untreated γ-Al2O3 were also studied. In both cases, the particles were exposed to water vapor prior to NO2 to provide adsorbed water for reaction. As expected, surface-bound HONO, NO2−, and NO3− were formed. Surprisingly, oxidation of the organic by surface-bound nitrogen oxides was observed in the dark, forming organo-nitrogen products identified as nitronates (R2CNO2−). Oxidation was more rapid under irradiation (λ > 290 nm) and formed organic nitrates and carbonyl compounds and/or peroxynitrates in addition to the products observed in the dark. Mass spectrometry of the gas phase during irradiation revealed the production of NO, CO2, and CO. These studies provide evidence for oxidation of organic compounds on particles and boundary layer surfaces that are exposed to air containing oxides of nitrogen, as well as new pathways for the formation of nitrogen-containing compounds on these surfaces.
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Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
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