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A Direct Probe of the Hydrogen Bond Network in Aqueous Glycerol Aerosols

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journal contribution
posted on 04.06.2021, 22:03 by Chaya Weeraratna, Chandika Amarasinghe, Wenchao Lu, Musahid Ahmed
The properties of aerosols are of paramount importance in atmospheric chemistry and human health. The hydrogen bond network of glycerol–water aerosols generated from an aqueous solution with different mixing ratios is probed directly with X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The carbon and oxygen X-ray spectra reveal contributions from gas and condensed phase components of the aerosol. It is shown that water suppresses glycerol evaporation up to a critical mixing ratio. A dielectric analysis using terahertz spectroscopy coupled with infrared spectroscopy of the bulk solutions provides a picture of the microscopic heterogeneity prevalent in the hydrogen bond network when combined with the photoelectron spectroscopy analysis. The hydrogen bond network is composed of three intertwined regions. At low concentrations, glycerol molecules are surrounded by water forming a solvated water network. Adding more glycerol leads to a confined water network, maximizing at 22 mol %, beyond which the aerosol resembles bulk glycerol. This microscopic view of hydrogen bonding networks holds promise in probing evaporation, diffusion dynamics, and reactivity in aqueous aerosols.