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Concentrations and Adsorption Isotherms for Amphiphilic Surfactants in PM1 Aerosols from Different Regions of Europe

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journal contribution
posted on 10.10.2019, 19:45 by Violaine Gérard, Barbara Noziere, Ludovic Fine, Corinne Ferronato, Dharmendra Kumar Singh, Amanda A. Frossard, Ronald C. Cohen, Eija Asmi, Heikki Lihavainen, Niku Kivekäs, Minna Aurela, David Brus, Sanja Frka, Ana Cvitešić Kušan
Predicting the activation of submicrometer particles into cloud droplets in the atmosphere remains a challenge. The importance of surface tension, σ (mN m–1), in these processes has been evidenced by several works, but information on the “surfactants” lowering σ in actual atmospheric particles remains scarce. In this work, PM1 aerosols from urban, coastal, and remote regions of Europe (Lyon, France, Rogoznica, Croatia, and Pallas, Finland, respectively) were investigated and found to contain amphiphilic surfactants in concentrations up to 2.8 μg m–3 in the air and 1.3 M in the particle dry volume. In Pallas, correlations with the PM1 chemical composition showed that amphiphilic surfactants were present in the entire range of particle sizes, supporting recent works. This implied that they were present in hundreds to thousands of particles cm–3 and not only in a few large particles, as it has been hypothesized. Their adsorption isotherms and critical micelle concentration (CMC) were also determined. The low CMC obtained (3 × 10–5–9 × 10–3 M) implies that surface tension depression should be significant for all the particles containing these compounds, even at activation (growth factor ∼ 10). Amphiphilic surfactants are thus likely to enhance the CCN ability of submicrometer atmospheric particles.