• atmospheric chemistry;
  • aerosols;
  • particulate matter


Many of the significant advances in our understanding of atmospheric particles can be attributed to the application of mass spectrometry. Mass spectrometry provides high sensitivity with a fast response time to probe chemically complex particles. This review focuses on recent developments and applications in the field of mass spectrometry of atmospheric aerosols. In Part I of this two-part review, we concentrate on off-line mass spectrometry techniques, which require sample collection on filters but can provide detailed molecular speciation. In particular, off-line mass spectrometry techniques utilizing tandem mass spectrometry experiments and high resolution mass analyzers provide improved insight into secondary organic aerosol formation and heterogeneous reaction pathways through detailed structural elucidation at the molecular level. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Mass Spec Rev 31:1–16, 2012