Single-particle mass spectrometry of tropospheric aerosol particles

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Abstract

[1] The Particle Analysis by Laser Mass Spectrometry (PALMS) instrument has measured the composition of single particles during a number of airborne and ground-based campaigns. In the regions studied, 30% to over 80% of the aerosol mass in the free troposphere was carbonaceous material. Most of this carbonaceous material was probably organic. Although there were variations in their amounts, over 90% of accumulation mode particles away from local sources were internal mixtures of sulfates and carbonaceous material. Within this internal mixing, there was variation in the pattern of carbonaceous peaks in the spectra, especially in peaks related to organic acids. Particles with a biomass burning signature were a significant fraction of accumulation mode particles even far from fires. The accumulation mode near the ocean surface off the coasts of California and New England had significant numbers of carbonaceous-sulfate particles whereas at Cape Grim, Tasmania, the organic-sulfate particles were apparently all smaller than 160 nm. Three kinds of nitrate were evident: on mineral particles, on carbonaceous-sulfate particles when the sulfate was fully neutralized, and at temperatures below about 198 K. Most mineral particles showed evidence of the uptake of nitrates and chloride. A peak that probably represents protonated pyridine appears in some spectra in the free troposphere.

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