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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-393
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 02 May 2018

Research article | 02 May 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) and is expected to appear here in due course.

Exploring the potential of the nano-Köhler theory to describe the growth of atmospheric molecular clusters by organic vapors

Jenni Kontkanen1,2, Tinja Olenius1, Markku Kulmala2,3,4, and Ilona Riipinen1 Jenni Kontkanen et al.
  • 1Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry (ACES) and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research/Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • 3Aerosol and Haze Laboratory, Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Soft Matter Science and Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing, P.R. China
  • 4Joint International Research Laboratory of Atmospheric and Earth System Sciences, School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, P.R. China

Abstract. New particle formation involving sulfuric acid, bases and oxidized organic compounds is an important source of atmospheric aerosol particles. One of the mechanisms suggested to depict this process is the nano-Köhler theory, which describes the activation of inorganic molecular clusters to growth by a soluble organic vapor. In this work we studied the capability of the nano-Köhler theory to describe the growth of atmospheric molecular clusters by simulating the dynamics of a cluster population in the presence of a sulfuric acid–base mixture and an organic compound. We observed nano-Köhler type activation in our simulations when the saturation ratio of the organic vapor and the ratio between organic and inorganic vapor concentrations were in a suitable range. However, the nano-Köhler theory was unable to predict the exact size at which the activation occurred in the simulations. In some conditions apparent cluster growth rate (GR) started to increase close to the activation size determined from the simulations. Nevertheless, because the behavior of GR is also affected by other dynamic processes, GR alone cannot be used to deduce the cluster growth mechanism.

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Jenni Kontkanen et al.
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New particle formation involving sulfuric acid, bases and organic compounds is an important source of atmospheric aerosol particles. We investigate the capability of the nano-Köhler theory to describe this process by simulating the dynamics of atmospheric molecular clusters. We find that nano-Köhler type behavior occurs in our simulations when the saturation ratio of the organic vapor and the ratio between organic and inorganic vapor concentrations are in a suitable range.
New particle formation involving sulfuric acid, bases and organic compounds is an important...
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