Articles | Volume 11, issue 1
Research article
03 Jan 2011
Research article |  | 03 Jan 2011

Physico-chemical characterization of SOA derived from catechol and guaiacol – a model substance for the aromatic fraction of atmospheric HULIS

J. Ofner, H.-U. Krüger, H. Grothe, P. Schmitt-Kopplin, K. Whitmore, and C. Zetzsch

Abstract. Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) was produced from the aromatic precursors catechol and guaiacol by reaction with ozone in the presence and absence of simulated sunlight and humidity and investigated for its properties as a proxy for HUmic-LIke Substances (HULIS). Beside a small particle size, a relatively low molecular weight and typical optical features in the UV/VIS spectral range, HULIS contain a typical aromatic and/or olefinic chemical structure and highly oxidized functional groups within a high chemical diversity. Various methods were used to characterize the secondary organic aerosols obtained: Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) demonstrated the formation of several carbonyl containing functional groups as well as structural and functional differences between aerosols formed at different environmental conditions. UV/VIS spectroscopy of filter samples showed that the particulate matter absorbs far into the visible range up to more than 500 nm. Ultrahigh resolved mass spectroscopy (ICR-FT/MS) determined O/C-ratios between 0.3 and 1 and observed m/z ratios between 200 and 450 to be most abundant. Temperature-programmed-pyrolysis mass spectroscopy (TPP-MS) identified carboxylic acids and lactones/esters as major functional groups. Particle sizing using a condensation-nucleus-counter and differential-mobility-particle-sizer (CNC/DMPS) monitored the formation of small particles during the SOA formation process. Particle imaging, using field-emission-gun scanning electron microscopy (FEG-SEM), showed spherical particles, forming clusters and chains. We conclude that catechol and guaiacol are appropriate precursors for studies of the processing of aromatic SOA with atmospheric HULIS properties on the laboratory scale.

Final-revised paper