A new comprehensive approach to characterizing carbonaceous aerosol with an application to wintertime Fresno, California PM2.5
1Arizona State University, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Tempe, AZ 85287-1604, USA
2U.S. Geological Survey, Building 95, MS408, Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225, USA
3Colorado State University, Department of Atmospheric Science, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1371, USA
Abstract. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) samples were collected during a three week winter period in Fresno (CA). A composite sample was characterized by isolating several distinct fractions and characterizing them by infrared and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. More than 80% of the organic matter in the aerosol samples was recovered and characterized. Only 35% of the organic matter was water soluble with another third soluble in dichloromethane and the remainder insoluble. Within the isolated water soluble material, hydrophobic acid and hydrophilic acids plus neutrals fractions contained the largest amounts of carbon. The hydrophobic acids fraction appears to contain significant amounts of lignin type structures, spectra of the hydrophilic acids plus neutrals fraction are indicative of carbohydrates and secondary organic material. The dichloromethane soluble fraction contains a variety of organic compound families typical of many previous studies of organic aerosol speciation, including alkanes, alkanols, alkanals and alkanoic acids. Finally the water and solvent insoluble fraction exhibits a strong aromaticity as one would expect from black or elemental carbon like material; however, these spectra also show a substantial amount of aliphaticity consistent with linear side chains on the aromatic structures.