Surface-adsorbed organics can alter the chemistry of tropospheric aerosols thereby impacting photochemical cycles and altering aerosol properties. The nature of the surface can also influence the chemistry of the surface-adsorbed organic. We employed diffuse reflectance infrared spectroscopy (DRIFTS) to monitor the adsorption of gaseous catechol on several tropospheric aerosol surrogates and to investigate the subsequent reactivity of adsorbed catechol with nitrogen dioxide. The dark heterogeneous reaction of NO2 with NaCl-adsorbed catechol produced 4-nitrocatechol, 1,2-benzoquinone, and the ring-cleaved product muconic acid, with product yields of 88%, 8%, and 4% at relative humidity (RH) < 2%, respectively. The reaction was first-order with respect to both catechol and NO2. The reactive uptake coefficient for NO2 + NaCl-adsorbed catechol increased from 3 × 10−6 at <2% RH to 7 × 10−6 at 30% RH. These reactions were more than two orders of magnitude more reactive than NaCl without adsorbed catechol. The 4-nitrocatechol product yield was enhanced on NaF, while NaBr-adsorbed catechol produced considerably more 1,2-benzoquinone and muconic acid. This substrate effect is discussed in terms of each substrate's ability to polarize the phenol group and hinder hydrogen atom abstraction from intermediate o-semiquinone radicals. These dark heterogeneous reactions may alter the UV-visible absorbing properties of tropospheric aerosols and may also contribute as a dark source of NO2−/HONO. These results contrast prior observations which found pure catechol thin films unreactive with NO2, highlighting the need to specifically consider substrate and matrix effects in laboratory systems.
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