Articles | Volume 12, issue 1
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 225–235, 2012
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-12-225-2012
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 225–235, 2012
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-12-225-2012

Research article 04 Jan 2012

Research article | 04 Jan 2012

From quantum chemical formation free energies to evaporation rates

I. K. Ortega1, O. Kupiainen1, T. Kurtén1, T. Olenius1, O. Wilkman2, M. J. McGrath3, V. Loukonen1, and H. Vehkamäki1 I. K. Ortega et al.
  • 1Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Department of Physics, P.O. Box 64, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Division of Geophysics and Astronomy, Department of Physics, P.O. Box 64, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 3Department of Biophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan

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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