Molecular composition and volatility of isoprene photochemical oxidation secondary organic aerosol under low- and high-NOx conditions

Emma L. D'Ambro, Ben H. Lee, Jiumeng Liu, John E. Shilling, Cassandra J. Gaston, Felipe D. Lopez-Hilfiker, Siegfried Schobesberger, Rahul A. Zaveri, Claudia Mohr, Anna Lutz, Zhenfa Zhang, Avram Gold, Jason D. Surratt, Jean C. Rivera-Rios, Frank N. Keutsch, Joel A. Thornton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


We present measurements of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation from isoprene photochemical oxidation in an environmental simulation chamber at a variety of oxidant conditions and using dry neutral seed particles to suppress acid-catalyzed multiphase chemistry. A highresolution time-of-flight chemical ionization mass spectrometer (HR-ToF-CIMS) utilizing iodide-adduct ionization coupled to the Filter Inlet for Gases and Aerosols (FIGAERO) allowed for simultaneous online sampling of the gas and particle composition. Under high-HO2 and low-NO conditions, highly oxygenated (O:C ≥ 1) C5 compounds were major components (50%) of SOA. The SOA composition and effective volatility evolved both as a function of time and as a function of input NO concentrations. Organic nitrates increased in both the gas and particle phases as input NO increased, but the dominant non-nitrate particle-phase components monotonically decreased. We use comparisons of measured and predicted gas-particle partitioning of individual components to assess the validity of literature-based group-contribution methods for estimating saturation vapor concentrations. While there is evidence for equilibrium partitioning being achieved on the chamber residence timescale (5.2 h) for some individual components, significant errors in group-contribution methods are revealed. In addition, > 30 % of the SOA mass, detected as low-molecular-weight semivolatile compounds, cannot be reconciled with equilibrium partitioning. These compounds desorb from the FIGAERO at unexpectedly high temperatures given their molecular composition, which is indicative of thermal decomposition of effectively lower-volatility components such as larger molecular weight oligomers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-174
Number of pages16
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 4 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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