Articles | Volume 12, issue 10
Research article
25 May 2012
Research article |  | 25 May 2012

AMS and LC/MS analyses of SOA from the photooxidation of benzene and 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene in the presence of NOx: effects of chemical structure on SOA aging

K. Sato, A. Takami, Y. Kato, T. Seta, Y. Fujitani, T. Hikida, A. Shimono, and T. Imamura

Abstract. Oxygenated organic aerosol (OOA) observed in remote areas is believed to comprise aged secondary organic aerosol (SOA); however, the reaction processes relevant to SOA chemical aging have hitherto been unclear. We recently measured the mass spectra of SOA formed from the photooxidation of aromatic hydrocarbons using an Aerodyne aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) and reported that SOA aging is slowed with increasing number of alkyl groups in the precursor molecule. In this study, we selected benzene and 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene (TMB) as precursors to analyze SOA formed from the photooxidation of aromatic hydrocarbons in the presence of NOx using high-resolution time-of-flight AMS (H-ToF-AMS) and liquid chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC/TOF-MS). A van Krevelen diagram was studied using the O/C and H/C ratios obtained by H-ToF-AMS for organics present in SOA. The results showed these organics to be rich in carboxylic acids or hydroxycarbonyls and the O/C ratio of SOA formed by the reaction of 1,3,5-TMB to be lower than that for benzene. Analytical results from LC/TOF-MS showed the particulate products formed by the reaction of 1,3,5-TMB to be richer in ketocarboxylic acids than for benzene. These results indicate that SOA aging proceeds mainly by formation of carboxylic acids and that the rate of SOA aging in laboratory chambers is limited by the oxidation of ketone groups. SOA formed in laboratory chamber experiments is less oxidized than for ambient OOA, not only because the experimental duration is insufficient or the SOA mass loading in the chamber is higher than that of the atmosphere. The laboratory chamber experiments under dry conditions are not able to simulate ketocarboxylic acid photochemical oxidation in the aqueous phase. The fractions of organic peroxides to the total SOA mass were determined by iodometric spectrophotometry to be 12 ± 8% (1,3,5-TMB) and <39% (benzene). Further, it was newly found that, unlike the reaction of benzene, only very small amounts of nitrophenols are produced by the reaction of 1,3,5-TMB.

Final-revised paper