Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 10, 17369-17405, 2010
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Physico-chemical characterization of secondary organic aerosol derived from catechol and guaiacol as a model substance for atmospheric humic-like substances
J. Ofner1, H.-U. Krüger1, H. Grothe2, P. Schmitt-Kopplin3,5, K. Whitmore4, and C. Zetzsch1
1Atmospheric Chemistry Research Laboratory, University of Bayreuth, Germany
2Institute of Materials Chemistry, Vienna University of Technology, Austria
3Institute of Ecological Chemistry, Helmholtz Zentrum Munich, Germany
4University Service Centre for Transmission Electron Microscopy, Vienna University of Technology, Austria
5Department for Chemical-Technical Analysis, Research Center Weihenstephan for Brewing and Food Quality, Technical University Munich, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany

Abstract. Secondary organic aerosol was produced from the aromatic precursors catechol and guaiacol by reaction with ozone in the presence and absence of simulated sunlight and humidity and investigated for its properties as a proxy for humic-like substances (HULIS). Beside a small particle size, a relatively low molecular weight and typical optical features in the UV/VIS spectral range, HULIS contain a typical aromatic and/or olefinic chemical structure and highly oxidized functional groups within a high chemical diversity. Various methods were used to characterize the secondary organic aerosols obtained: Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) demonstrated the formation of different carbonyl containing functional groups as well as structural and functional differences between aerosols formed at different environmental conditions. UV/VIS spectroscopy of filter samples showed that the particulate matter absorbs far into the visible range up to more than 500 nm. Ultrahigh resolved mass spectroscopy (ICR-FT/MS) determined O/C-ratios between 0.3 and 1 and main molecular weights between 200 and 500 Da. Temperature-programmed-pyrolysis mass spectroscopy identified carboxylic acids and lactones as major functional groups. Particle sizing using CNC-DMPS demonstrated the formation of small particles during a secondary organic aerosol formation process. Particle imaging using field-emission-gun scanning electron microscopy (FEG-SEM) showed spherical particles, forming clusters and chains. Hence, secondary organic aerosols from catechol and guaiacol are appropriate model substances for studies of the processing of aromatic secondary organic aerosols and atmospheric HULIS on the laboratory scale.

Citation: Ofner, J., Krüger, H.-U., Grothe, H., Schmitt-Kopplin, P., Whitmore, K., and Zetzsch, C.: Physico-chemical characterization of secondary organic aerosol derived from catechol and guaiacol as a model substance for atmospheric humic-like substances, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 10, 17369-17405, doi:10.5194/acpd-10-17369-2010, 2010.
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