High molecular weight SOA formation during limonene ozonolysis: insights from ultrahigh-resolution FT-ICR mass spectrometry characterization
1Department of Chemistry, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
2Atmospheric Science Program, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
3Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA
Abstract. The detailed molecular composition of secondary organic aerosols (SOA) from limonene ozonolysis was studied using ultrahigh-resolution Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometry. High molecular weight (MW) compounds (m/z > 300) were found to constitute a significant number fraction of the identified SOA components. Double bond equivalents (DBE = the number of rings plus the number of double bonds) increased with MW. The O:C ratios and relative abundances of compounds decreased with increasing MW. The mass spectra of limonene contain 4 distinct clusters of negative ions: Group I (140 < m/z < 300), Group II (300 < m/z < 500), Group III (500 < m/z < 700) and Group IV (700 < m/z < 850). A number of CH2 and O homologous series of low MW SOA (Group 1) with carbon number 7–15 and oxygen number 3–9 were observed. Their occurrence can be explained with isomerization and elimination reactions of Criegee radicals, reactions between alkyl peroxy radicals, and scission of alkoxy radicals resulting from the Criegee radicals. Additionally, fragmentation analysis and observations of formaldehyde homologous series provide evidence for aerosol growth by the reactive uptake of generated gas-phase carbonyls in limonene ozonolysis. The decreasing O:C ratios between group of compounds indicated the importance of condensation (aldol and esterification) reaction pathways for high MW compound formation. However, the prominent DBE changes of 2 between the groups of compounds and selected fragmentation (MS/MS) analysis of Group II and Group III ions indicated a predominance of non-condensation (hydroperoxide, Criegee and hemi-acetal) reaction pathways. A reaction matrix created with the combination of low MW SOA, hydroperoxides, and Criegee radicals indicated higher frequencies for the hemi-acetal and condensation reaction pathways. Overall, the combined approach confirms the importance of non-condensation reaction pathways over condensation reaction pathways. Among the non-condensation reaction pathways, hemi-acetal reactions appear to be most dominant followed by hydroperoxide and Criegee reactions.