Articles | Volume 10, issue 9
03 May 2010
 | 03 May 2010

Elemental analysis of chamber organic aerosol using an aerodyne high-resolution aerosol mass spectrometer

P. S. Chhabra, R. C. Flagan, and J. H. Seinfeld

Abstract. The elemental composition of laboratory chamber secondary organic aerosol (SOA) from glyoxal uptake, α-pinene ozonolysis, isoprene photooxidation, single-ring aromatic photooxidation, and naphthalene photooxidation is evaluated using Aerodyne high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometer data. SOA O/C ratios range from 1.13 for glyoxal uptake experiments to 0.30–0.43 for α-pinene ozonolysis. The elemental composition of α-pinene and naphthalene SOA is also confirmed by offline mass spectrometry. The fraction of organic signal at m/z 44 is generally a good measure of SOA oxygenation for α-pinene/O3, isoprene/high-NOx, and naphthalene SOA systems. The agreement between measured and estimated O/C ratios tends to get closer as the fraction of organic signal at m/z 44 increases. This is in contrast to the glyoxal uptake system, in which m/z 44 substantially underpredicts O/C. Although chamber SOA has generally been considered less oxygenated than ambient SOA, single-ring aromatic- and naphthalene-derived SOA can reach O/C ratios upward of 0.7, well within the range of ambient PMF component OOA, though still not as high as some ambient measurements. The spectra of aromatic and isoprene-high-NOx SOA resemble that of OOA, but the spectrum of glyoxal uptake does not resemble that of any ambient organic aerosol PMF component.

Final-revised paper