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Using Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometry for Online Analysis of Secondary Organic Aerosols

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journal contribution
posted on 01.10.2008, 00:00 by Heidi Hellén, Josef Dommen, Axel Metzger, Astrid Gascho, Jonathan Duplissy, Torsten Tritscher, Andre S. H. Prevot, Urs Baltensperger
Proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) is a useful tool in ambient trace gas analysis, especially for the analysis of oxygenated volatile organic compounds (OVOC). Many OVOCs are produced during photooxidation of volatile organic compounds and contribute to both the gas phase and secondary organic aerosols (SOA). The inlet system of the PTR-MS instrument was modified to allow also for the measurement of the particulate phase of an aerosol with a high time resolution. The new inlet consists mainly of a denuder to strip off the gas phase, and a heater (120/150 °C) to vaporize the aerosol particles. This inlet system was tested with pinonic acid particles generated with a nebulizer and SOA particles formed during the photooxidation of 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene and α-pinene with NOx in a smog chamber. The performance of this new technique is discussed and the partitioning coefficients for the oxidation products are estimated.