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Volume 165, 2013
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Aqueous aerosol SOA formation: impact on aerosol physical properties

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Organic chemistry in aerosol water has recently been recognized as a potentially important source of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) material. This SOA material may be surface-active, therefore potentially affecting aerosol heterogeneous activity, ice nucleation, and CCN activity. Aqueous aerosol chemistry has also been shown to be a potential source of light-absorbing products (“brown carbon”). We present results on the formation of secondary organic aerosol material in aerosol water and the associated changes in aerosol physical properties from GAMMA (Gas–Aerosol Model for Mechanism Analysis), a photochemical box model with coupled gas and detailed aqueous aerosol chemistry. The detailed aerosol composition output from GAMMA was coupled with two recently developed modules for predicting a) aerosol surface tension and b) the UV-Vis absorption spectrum of the aerosol, based on our previous laboratory observations. The simulation results suggest that the formation of oligomers and organic acids in bulk aerosol water is unlikely to perturb aerosol surface tension significantly. Isoprene-derived organosulfates are formed in high concentrations in acidic aerosols under low-NOx conditions, but more experimental data are needed before the potential impact of these species on aerosol surface tension may be evaluated. Adsorption of surfactants from the gas phase may further suppress aerosol surface tension. Light absorption by aqueous aerosol SOA material is driven by dark glyoxal chemistry and is highest under high-NOx conditions, at high relative humidity, in the early morning hours. The wavelength dependence of the predicted absorption spectra is comparable to field observations and the predicted mass absorption efficiencies suggest that aqueous aerosol chemistry can be a significant source of aerosol brown carbon under urban conditions.

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Supplementary files

Article information

08 Mar 2013
07 May 2013
First published
08 May 2013

Faraday Discuss., 2013,165, 357-367
Article type

Aqueous aerosol SOA formation: impact on aerosol physical properties

J. L. Woo, D. D. Kim, A. N. Schwier, R. Li and V. F. McNeill, Faraday Discuss., 2013, 165, 357
DOI: 10.1039/C3FD00032J

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