Articles | Volume 12, issue 14
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 6489–6504, 2012
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 6489–6504, 2012

Research article 25 Jul 2012

Research article | 25 Jul 2012

α-pinene photooxidation under controlled chemical conditions – Part 1: Gas-phase composition in low- and high-NOx environments

N. C. Eddingsaas1, C. L. Loza1, L. D. Yee2, J. H. Seinfeld2,1, and P. O. Wennberg3,2 N. C. Eddingsaas et al.
  • 1Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 2Division of Engineering and Applied Science, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 3Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA

Abstract. The OH oxidation of α-pinene under both low- and high-NOx environments was studied in the Caltech atmospheric chambers. Ozone was kept low to ensure OH was the oxidant. The initial α-pinene concentration was 20–50 ppb to ensure that the dominant peroxy radical pathway under low-NOx conditions is reaction with HO2, produced from reaction of OH with H2O2, and under high-NOx conditions, reactions with NO. Here we present the gas-phase results observed. Under low-NOx conditions the main first generation oxidation products are a number of α-pinene hydroxy hydroperoxides and pinonaldehyde, accounting for over 40% of the yield. In all, 65–75% of the carbon can be accounted for in the gas phase; this excludes first-generation products that enter the particle phase. We suggest that pinonaldehyde forms from RO2 + HO2 through an alkoxy radical channel that regenerates OH, a mechanism typically associated with acyl peroxy radicals, not alkyl peroxy radicals. The OH oxidation and photolysis of α-pinene hydroxy hydroperoxides leads to further production of pinonaldehyde, resulting in total pinonaldehyde yield from low-NOx OH oxidation of ~33%. The low-NOx OH oxidation of pinonaldehyde produces a number of carboxylic acids and peroxyacids known to be important secondary organic aerosol components. Under high-NOx conditions, pinonaldehyde was also found to be the major first-generation OH oxidation product. The high-NOx OH oxidation of pinonaldehyde did not produce carboxylic acids and peroxyacids. A number of organonitrates and peroxyacyl nitrates are observed and identified from α-pinene and pinonaldehyde.

Final-revised paper