National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2010

Organic aerosol characterization by complementary measurements of chemical bonds and molecular fragments

Russell, L.M., R. Bahadur, L.N. Hawkins, J. Allan, D. Baumgardner, P.K. Quinn, and T.S. Bates

Atmos. Environ., 43, 6100–6105, doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2009.09.036 (2009)

Organic aerosol chemical markers from normalized concentrations of independent measurements of mass fragments (using Aerosol Mass Spectrometry, AMS) are compared to bond-based functional groups (from Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy, FTIR) during eight field projects in the western hemisphere. Several field projects show weak correlations between alcohol group fractions and m/z 60 fractions, consistent with the organic hydroxyl groups and the fragmentation of saccharides, but the weakness of the correlations indicate chemical differences among the relationships for ambient aerosols in different regions. Carboxylic acid group fractions and m/z 44 fractions are correlated weakly for three projects, with correlations expected for aerosols dominated by di-acid compounds since their fragmentation is typically dominated by m/z 44. Despite differences for three projects with ratios of m/z 44 to m/z 57 fragments less than 10, five projects showed a linear trend between the project-average m/z 44 to m/z 57 ratio and the ratio of acid and alkane functional groups. While this correlation explains only a fraction of the fragment and bond variability measured, the consistency of this relationship at multiple sites indicates a general agreement with the interpretation of the relative amount of m/z 44 as a carboxylic acid group marker and m/z 57 as an alkane group marker.

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