Articles | Volume 14, issue 8
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 4251–4262, 2014
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 4251–4262, 2014

Research article 30 Apr 2014

Research article | 30 Apr 2014

Quantification of hydroxyacetone and glycolaldehyde using chemical ionization mass spectrometry

J. M. St. Clair1, K. M. Spencer2, M. R. Beaver*,1, J. D. Crounse1, F. Paulot3, and P. O. Wennberg3,1 J. M. St. Clair et al.
  • 1Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 2Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 3Division of Engineering and Applied Science, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • *now at: National Exposure Research Laboratory, Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA
  • **now at: Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA

Abstract. Chemical ionization mass spectrometry (CIMS) enables online, rapid, in situ detection and quantification of hydroxyacetone and glycolaldehyde. Two different CIMS approaches are demonstrated employing the strengths of single quadrupole mass spectrometry and triple quadrupole (tandem) mass spectrometry. Both methods are generally capable of the measurement of hydroxyacetone, an analyte with known but minimal isobaric interferences. Tandem mass spectrometry provides direct separation of the isobaric compounds glycolaldehyde and acetic acid using distinct, collision-induced dissociation daughter ions. The single quadrupole CIMS measurement of glycolaldehyde was demonstrated during the ARCTAS-CARB (Arctic Research of the Composition of the Troposphere from Aircraft and Satellites - California Air Resources Board) 2008 campaign, while triple quadrupole CIMS measurements of glycolaldehyde and hydroxyacetone were demonstrated during the BEARPEX (Biosphere Effects on Aerosols and Photochemistry Experiment) 2009 campaign. Enhancement ratios of glycolaldehyde in ambient biomass-burning plumes are reported for the ARCTAS-CARB campaign. BEARPEX observations are compared to simple photochemical box model predictions of biogenic volatile organic compound oxidation at the site.

Final-revised paper