The effect of acid-base clustering and ions on the growth of atmospheric nano-particles

  • The growth of freshly formed aerosol particles can be the bottleneck in their survival to cloud condensation nuclei. It is therefore crucial to understand how particles grow in the atmosphere. Insufficient experimental data has impeded a profound understanding of nano-particle growth under atmospheric conditions. Here we study nano-particle growth in the CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving OUtdoors Droplets) chamber, starting from the formation of molecular clusters. We present measured growth rates at sub-3 nm sizes with different atmospherically relevant concentrations of sulphuric acid, water, ammonia and dimethylamine. We find that atmospheric ions and small acid-base clusters, which are not generally accounted for in the measurement of sulphuric acid vapour, can participate in the growth process, leading to enhanced growth rates. The availability of compounds capable of stabilizing sulphuric acid clusters governs the magnitude of these effects and thus the exact growth mechanism. We bring these observations into a coherent framework and discuss their significance in the atmosphere.

Download full text files

Export metadata

Author:Katrianne Lehtipalo, Linda Rondo, Jenni Kontkanen, Siegfried Schobesberger, Tuija Jokinen, Nina Sarnela, Andreas Kürten, Sebastian Ehrhart, Alessandro Franchin, Tuomo Nieminen, Francesco Riccobono, Mikko Sipilä, Taina Yli-Juuti, Jonathan DuplissyORCiD, Alexey Adamov, Lars Ahlm, Joao Almeida, Antonio Amorim, Federico Bianchi, Martin Breitenlechner, Josef Dommen, Andrew Downard, Eimear M. Dunne, Richard C. Flagan, Roberto Guida, Jani Hakala, Armin Hansel, Werner Jud, Juha Kangasluoma, Veli-Matti Kerminen, Helmi Keskinen, Jaeseok Kim, Jasper Kirkby, Agnieszka Kupc, Oona Kupiainen-Määttä, Ari Laaksonen, Michael Joseph Lawler, Markus Leiminger, Serge Mathot, Tinja Olenius, Ismael K. Ortega, Antti Onnela, Tuukka Petäjä, Arnaud Patrick Praplan, Matti P. Rissanen, Taina Ruuskanen, Filipe Duarte Santos, Simon Schallhart, Ralf Schnitzhofer, Mario Simon, James N. Smith, Jasmin Tröstl, Georgios Tsagkogeorgas, Antonio Tomé, Petri Vaattovaara, Hanna Vehkamäki, Aron Vrtala, Paul E. Wagner, Christina Williamson, Daniela Wimmer, Paul M. Winkler, Annele Virtanen, Neil McPherson Donahue, Kenneth S. Carslaw, Urs BaltenspergerORCiDGND, Ilona Riipinen, Joachim CurtiusORCiD, Douglas R. Worsnop, Markku Kulmala
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):Nature Communications
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group UK
Place of publication:[London]
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2016
Date of first Publication:2016/05/20
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2019/06/27
Tag:Atmospheric chemistry; Biogeochemistry
Issue:Art. 11594
Page Number:9
First Page:1
Last Page:9
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit
Institutes:Geowissenschaften / Geographie / Geowissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0