Halogenation processes of secondary organic aerosol and implications on halogen release mechanisms
Abstract. Reactive halogen species (RHS), such as X·, X2 and HOX containing X = chlorine and/or bromine, are released by various sources like photo-activated sea-salt aerosol or from salt pans, and salt lakes. Despite many studies of RHS reactions, the potential of RHS reacting with secondary organic aerosol (SOA) and organic aerosol derived from biomass-burning (BBOA) has been neglected. Such reactions can constitute sources of gaseous organohalogen compounds or halogenated organic matter in the tropospheric boundary layer and can influence physicochemical properties of atmospheric aerosols.
Model SOA from α-pinene, catechol, and guaiacol was used to study heterogeneous interactions with RHS. Particles were exposed to molecular chlorine and bromine in an aerosol smog-chamber in the presence of UV/VIS irradiation and to RHS, released from simulated natural halogen sources like salt pans. Subsequently, the aerosol was characterized in detail using a variety of physicochemical and spectroscopic methods. Fundamental features were correlated with heterogeneous halogenation, which results in new functional groups (FTIR spectroscopy), changes UV/VIS absorption, chemical composition (ultrahigh resolution mass spectroscopy (ICR-FT/MS)), or aerosol size distribution. However, the halogen release mechanisms were also found to be affected by the presence of organic aerosol. Those interaction processes, changing chemical and physical properties of the aerosol are likely to influence e.g. the ability of the aerosol to act as cloud condensation nuclei, its potential to adsorb other gases with low-volatility, or its contribution to radiative forcing and ultimately the Earth's radiation balance.