Articles | Volume 12, issue 1
Research article
04 Jan 2012
Research article |  | 04 Jan 2012

From quantum chemical formation free energies to evaporation rates

I. K. Ortega, O. Kupiainen, T. Kurtén, T. Olenius, O. Wilkman, M. J. McGrath, V. Loukonen, and H. Vehkamäki

Abstract. Atmospheric new particle formation is an important source of atmospheric aerosols. Large efforts have been made during the past few years to identify which molecules are behind this phenomenon, but the actual birth mechanism of the particles is not yet well known. Quantum chemical calculations have proven to be a powerful tool to gain new insights into the very first steps of particle formation. In the present study we use formation free energies calculated by quantum chemical methods to estimate the evaporation rates of species from sulfuric acid clusters containing ammonia or dimethylamine. We have found that dimethylamine forms much more stable clusters with sulphuric acid than ammonia does. On the other hand, the existence of a very deep local minimum for clusters with two sulfuric acid molecules and two dimethylamine molecules hinders their growth to larger clusters. These results indicate that other compounds may be needed to make clusters grow to larger sizes (containing more than three sulfuric acid molecules).

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