Morphology of mixed primary and secondary organic particles and the adsorption of spectator organic gases during aerosol formation

Timothy D. Vaden, Chen Song, Rahul A. Zaveri, Dan Imre, Alla Zelenyuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Primary organic aerosol (POA) and associated vapors can play an important role in determining the formation and properties of secondary organic aerosol (SOA). If SOA and POA are miscible, POA will significantly enhance SOA formation and some POA vapor will incorporate into SOA particles. When the two are not miscible, condensation of SOA on POA particles forms particles with complex morphology. In addition, POA vapor can adsorb to the surface of SOA particles increasing their mass and affecting their evaporation rates. To gain insight into SOA/POA interactions we present a detailed experimental investigation of the morphologies of SOA particles formed during ozonolysis of α-pinene in the presence of dioctyl phthalate (DOP) particles, serving as a simplified model of hydrophobic POA, using a single-particle mass spectrometer. Ultraviolet laser depth-profiling experiments were used to characterize two different types of mixed SOA/DOP particles: those formed by condensation of the oxidized α-pinene products on size-selected DOP particles and by condensation of DOP on size-selected α-pinene SOA particles. The results show that the hydrophilic SOA and hydrophobic DOP do not mix but instead form layered phases. In addition, an examination of homogeneously nucleated SOA particles formed in the presence of DOP vapor shows them to have an adsorbed DOP coating layer that is ∼4 nm thick and carries 12% of the particles mass. These results may have implications for SOA formation and behavior in the atmosphere, where numerous organic compounds with various volatilities and different polarities are present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6658-6663
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 13 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Morphology of mixed primary and secondary organic particles and the adsorption of spectator organic gases during aerosol formation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this