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Thermal Desorption/Tunable Vacuum–Ultraviolet Time-of-Flight Photoionization Aerosol Mass Spectrometry for Investigating Secondary Organic Aerosols in Chamber Experiments

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posted on 2011-12-01, 00:00 authored by Wenzheng Fang, Lei Gong, Xiaobin Shan, Fuyi Liu, Zhenya Wang, Liusi Sheng
This paper describes thermal desorption/tunable vacuum–ultraviolet photoionization time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometry (TD-VUV-TOF-PIAMS) for the real-time analysis of secondary organic aerosols (SOAs) in smog chamber experiments. SOAs are sampled directly from atmospheric pressure and are focused through an aerodynamic lens assembly into the mass spectrometer. Once the particles have entered the source region, they impact on a heater and are vaporized. The nascent vapor is then softly ionized by tunable VUV synchrotron radiation. TD-VUV-TOF-PIAMS was used in conjunction with the smog chamber to study SOA formation from the photooxidation of toluene with hydroxyl radicals. The ionization energies (IEs) of these SOA products are sometimes very different with each other. As the ideal photon source is tunable, its energy can be adjusted for each molecular to be ionized. The mass spectra obtained at different photon energies are then to be useful for molecular identification. Real-time analysis of the mass spectra of SOAs is compared with previous off-line measurements. These results illustrate the potential of TD-VUV-TOF-PIAMS for direct molecular characterization of SOAs in smog chamber experiments.