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Mass spectrometric analysis of organic aerosol composition : laboratory and ambient


Chan, Man Nin (2012) Mass spectrometric analysis of organic aerosol composition : laboratory and ambient. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology.


Organic compounds contribute a significant mass fraction of ambient aerosol and play a role in determining the physiochemical properties of ambient aerosol. A significant fraction of organic aerosol is secondary organic aerosol (SOA), which is produced when the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) originated from various anthropogenic and biogenic sources react with atmospheric oxidants such as ozone, hydroxyl radicals, and nitrate radicals to form lower volatility organic compounds, which subsequently partition into the particle phase. Understanding the composition of ambient aerosol is crucial for identifying their sources and formation mechanisms and predicting their properties and effects on various ambient processes. This thesis focuses on investigating the composition of laboratory–generated SOA formed from the oxidation of biogenic VOCs of atmospheric importance (isoprene and β–caryophyllene) and ambient aerosol collected in the field campaigns using advanced mass spectrometric techniques. By comparing the mass spectrometric data collected for the both laboratory–generated SOA and ambient aerosol, we propose reaction pathways and new chemical tracers for these biogenic VOCs, which enhance our knowledge of the composition, sources, and formation pathways of SOA in the atmosphere. With a better knowledge of the SOA composition, a product–specific model is proposed to predict the composition and aerosol mass yields (mass of SOA formed per mass of hydrocarbon reacted) of laboratory–generated α–pinene SOA.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Secondary organic aerosol, isoprene, β–caryophyllene, atmospheric modeling
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Environmental Science and Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Seinfeld, John H.
Thesis Committee:
  • Seinfeld, John H. (chair)
  • Wennberg, Paul O.
  • Flagan, Richard C.
  • Hoffmann, Michael R.
Defense Date:1 December 2011
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:12152011-220323752
Persistent URL:
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Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:6754
Deposited By: Man Nin Chan
Deposited On:06 Jan 2012 22:45
Last Modified:26 Dec 2012 04:39

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