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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-927
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-927
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 14 Nov 2019

Submitted as: research article | 14 Nov 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Comparing SOA volatility distributions derived from isothermal SOA particle evaporation data and FIGAERO-CIMS measurements

Olli-Pekka Tikkanen, Angela Buchholz, Arttu Ylisirniö, Siegfried Schobesberger, Annele Virtanen, and Taina Yli-Juuti Olli-Pekka Tikkanen et al.
  • Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, 70210, Finland

Abstract. The volatility distribution of the organic compounds present in SOA at different conditions is a key quantity that has to be captured in order to describe SOA dynamics accurately. The development of the filter inlet for gases and aerosols (FIGAERO) and its coupling to chemical ionization mass spectrometer (CIMS) has enabled near simultaneous sampling of gas and particle phases of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) through thermal desorption of the particles. The thermal desorption data has recently been shown to be interpretable as a volatility distribution with the use of positive matrix factorization (PMF) method. Similarly, volatility distribution can be inferred from isothermal particle evaporation experiments, when the particle size change measurements are analyzed with process modelling techniques. In this study we compare the volatility distributions that are retrieved from FIGAERO-CIMS and particle size change measurements during isothermal particle evaporation with process modelling techniques. We compare the volatility distributions at two different relative humidity (RH) and two oxidation condition. At high RH conditions, where particles are in a liquid state, we show that the volatility distributions derived the two ways are comparable within reasonable assumption of uncertainty in the effective saturation mass concentrations that are derived from FIGAERO-CIMS data. At dry conditions we demonstrate the volatility distributions are comparable in one oxidation condition and in the other oxidation condition the volatility distribution derived from the PMF analysis shows considerably more high volatility matter than the volatility distribution inferred from particle size change measurements. We also show that the Vogel-Tammann-Fulcher equation together with a recent glass transition temperature parametrization for organic compounds and PMF derived volatility distribution estimate are consistent with the observed isothermal evaporation under dry conditions within the reported uncertainties. We conclude that the FIGAERO-CIMS measurements analyzed with the PMF method are a promising method for inferring organic compounds' volatility distribution, but care has to be taken when the PMF factors are interpreted. Future process modelling studies about SOA dynamics and properties could benefit from simultaneous FIGAERO-CIMS measurements.

Olli-Pekka Tikkanen et al.
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Olli-Pekka Tikkanen et al.
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Short summary
We compared the volatility distributions of SOA constituents estimated from isothermal evaporation experiments from either particle size change data by process modelling and global optimization or from mass spectrometer data with positive matrix factorization analysis. Our results show that despite the two very different estimation methods, the volatility distributions are comparable if uncertainties are taken into account.
We compared the volatility distributions of SOA constituents estimated from isothermal...
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