Articles | Volume 15, issue 8
Research article
22 Apr 2015
Research article |  | 22 Apr 2015

Elemental composition and clustering behaviour of α-pinene oxidation products for different oxidation conditions

A. P. Praplan, S. Schobesberger, F. Bianchi, M. P. Rissanen, M. Ehn, T. Jokinen, H. Junninen, A. Adamov, A. Amorim, J. Dommen, J. Duplissy, J. Hakala, A. Hansel, M. Heinritzi, J. Kangasluoma, J. Kirkby, M. Krapf, A. Kürten, K. Lehtipalo, F. Riccobono, L. Rondo, N. Sarnela, M. Simon, A. Tomé, J. Tröstl, P. M. Winkler, C. Williamson, P. Ye, J. Curtius, U. Baltensperger, N. M. Donahue, M. Kulmala, and D. R. Worsnop

Abstract. This study presents the difference between oxidised organic compounds formed by α-pinene oxidation under various conditions in the CLOUD environmental chamber: (1) pure ozonolysis (in the presence of hydrogen as hydroxyl radical (OH) scavenger) and (2) OH oxidation (initiated by nitrous acid (HONO) photolysis by ultraviolet light) in the absence of ozone.

We discuss results from three Atmospheric Pressure interface Time-of-Flight (APi-TOF) mass spectrometers measuring simultaneously the composition of naturally charged as well as neutral species (via chemical ionisation with nitrate). Natural chemical ionisation takes place in the CLOUD chamber and organic oxidised compounds form clusters with nitrate, bisulfate, bisulfate/sulfuric acid clusters, ammonium, and dimethylaminium, or get protonated. The results from this study show that this process is selective for various oxidised organic compounds with low molar mass and ions, so that in order to obtain a comprehensive picture of the elemental composition of oxidation products and their clustering behaviour, several instruments must be used. We compare oxidation products containing 10 and 20 carbon atoms and show that highly oxidised organic compounds are formed in the early stages of the oxidation.

Short summary
Our study shows, based on data from three atmospheric pressure interface time-of-flight mass spectrometers measuring in parallel charged and neutral molecules and molecular clusters, how oxidised organic compounds bind to inorganic ions (e.g. bisulfate, nitrate, ammonium). This ionisation is selective for compounds with lower molar mass due to their limited amount and variety of functional groups. We also found that extremely low volatile organic compounds (ELVOCs) can be formed immediately.
Final-revised paper