Observation of viscosity transition in α-pinene secondary organic aerosol

  • Under certain conditions, secondary organic aerosol (SOA) particles can exist in the atmosphere in an amorphous solid or semi-solid state. To determine their relevance to processes such as ice nucleation or chemistry occurring within particles requires knowledge of the temperature and relative humidity (RH) range for SOA to exist in these states. In the CLOUD experiment at CERN, we deployed a new in-situ optical method to detect the viscosity of α-pinene SOA particles and measured their transition from the amorphous viscous to liquid state. The method is based on the depolarising properties of laboratory-produced non-spherical SOA particles and their transformation to non-depolarising spherical liquid particles during deliquescence. We found that particles formed and grown in the chamber developed an asymmetric shape through coagulation. A transition to spherical shape was observed as the RH was increased to between 35 % at −10 ◦C and 80 % at −38 ◦C, confirming previous calculations of the viscosity transition conditions. Consequently, α-pinene SOA particles exist in a viscous state over a wide range of ambient conditions, including the cirrus region of the free troposphere. This has implications for the physical, chemical and ice-nucleation properties of SOA and SOA-coated particles in the atmosphere.

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Author:Emma Järvinen, Karoliina Ignatius, Leonid Nichman, Thomas Bjerring Kristensen, Claudia Fuchs, Niko Florian Höppel, Joel C. Corbin, Jill Craven, Jonathan DuplissyORCiD, Sebastian Ehrhart, Imad El Haddad, Carla Frege, Jay Gates Gates, Hamish Gordon, Christopher Robert Hoyle, Tuija Jokinen, Peter Kallinger, Jasper Kirkby, Alexei KiselevORCiDGND, Karl-Heinz Naumann, Tuukka Petäjä, Tamara Pinterich, André Stephan Henry Prévôt, Harald Saathoff, Thea Schiebel, Kamalika Sengupta, Mario Simon, Jasmin Tröstl, Annele Virtanen, Paul Vochezer, Steffen Vogt, Andrea Christine Wagner, Robert Wagner, Christina Williamson, Paul M. Winkler, Chao Yan, Urs BaltenspergerORCiDGND, Neil McPherson Donahue, Rick C. Flagan, Martin William Gallagher, Armin Hansel, Markku Kulmala, Frank StratmannORCiDGND, Douglas R. Worsnop, Ottmar MöhlerORCiDGND, Thomas Leisner, Martin Schnaiter
Parent Title (English):Atmospheric chemistry and physics. Discussions
Publisher:European Geosciences Union
Place of publication:Katlenburg-Lindau
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2016/11/21
Date of first Publication:2015/10/22
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2016/11/21
Page Number:43
First Page:28575
Last Page:28617
© Author(s) 2015. CC Attribution 3.0 License.
Institutes:Geowissenschaften / Geographie / Geowissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 3.0