Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Emulsified and Liquid–Liquid Phase-Separated States of α-Pinene Secondary Organic Aerosol Determined Using Aerosol Optical Tweezers

Kyle Gorkowski, Neil M. Donahue, and Ryan C. Sullivan

We demonstrate the first capture and analysis of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) on a droplet suspended in an aerosol optical tweezers (AOT). We examine three initial chemical systems of aqueous NaCl, aqueous glycerol, and squalane at ∼75% relative humidity. For each system we added α-pinene SOA—generated directly in the AOT chamber—to the trapped droplet. The resulting morphology was always observed to be a core of the original droplet phase surrounded by a shell of the added SOA. We also observed a stable emulsion of SOA particles when added to an aqueous NaCl core phase, in addition to the shell of SOA. The persistence of the emulsified SOA particles suspended in the aqueous core suggests that this metastable state may persist for a significant fraction of the aerosol lifecycle for mixed SOA/aqueous particle systems. We conclude that the α-pinene SOA shell creates no major diffusion limitations for water, glycerol, and squalane core phases under humid conditions. These experimental results support the current prompt-partitioning framework used to describe organic aerosol in most atmospheric chemical transport models and highlight the prominence of core–shell morphologies for SOA on a range of core chemical phases.

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