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The optical, physical and chemical properties of the products of glyoxal uptake on ammonium sulfate seed aerosols

Author(s): M. Trainic | A. A. Riziq | A. Lavi | J. M. Flores | Y. Rudich

Journal: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions
ISSN 1680-7367

Volume: 11;
Issue: 7;
Start page: 19223;
Date: 2011;
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The heterogeneous reaction between gas phase glyoxal and ammonium sulfate (AS) aerosols, a proxy for inorganic atmospheric aerosol, was studied in terms of the dependence of the optical, physical and chemical properties of the product aerosols on initial particle size and ambient RH. The reactions were studied under different relative humidity (RH) conditions, varying from dry conditions (~20 % RH) and up to 90 % RH, covering conditions prevalent in many atmospheric environments. At λ = 355 nm, the reacted aerosols demonstrate a substantial growth in optical extinction cross section, as well as in mobility diameter under a broad range of RH values (35–90 %). The ratio of the product aerosol to seed aerosol geometric cross section reached up to ~3.5, and the optical extinction cross-section up to ~250. The reactions show a trend of increasing physical and optical growth with decreasing seed aerosol size, from 100nm to 300 nm, as well as with decreasing RH values from 90 % to ~40 %. Optically inactive aerosols, at the limit of the Mie range (100 nm diameter) become optically active as they grow due to the reaction. AMS analyses of the reaction of 300 nm AS at RH values of 50 %, 75 % and 90 % show that the main products of the reaction are glyoxal oligomers, formed by acetal formation in the presence of AS. In addition, imidazole formation, which is a minor channel, is observed for all reactions, yielding a product which absorbs at λ = 290 nm, with possible implications on the radiative properties of the product aerosols. The ratio of absorbing substances (C–N compounds, including imidazoles) increases with increasing RH value. A core/shell model used for the investigation of the optical properties of the reaction products of AS 300nm with gas phase glyoxal, shows that the refractive index (RI) of the reaction products are in the range between 1.57–1.71 for the real part and between 0–0.02 for the imaginary part of the RI at 355 nm. The observed increase in the ratio of the investigated absorbing substances is slightly indicated in the RI values found by the model, as the imaginary part of the product RI increases from 0.01 to 0.02 with increasing RH. The imaginary part is expected to increase further at higher RH and become more substantial in cloud droplets. This study shows that the reaction of abundant substances present in atmospheric aerosols, such as AS, and gas phase glyoxal alters the aerosols' optical, physical and chemical properties and may have implications on the radiative effect of these aerosols.
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