Surface-enhanced Raman scattering for mixing state characterization of individual fine particles during a haze episode in Beijing, China

Suhua Wang , Hui Chen , Fengkui Duan , Jingjing Du , Ranhao Yin , Lidan Zhu , Jinlu Dong , Kebin He , Zhenli Sun


Received October 05, 2020,Revised , Accepted December 08, 2020, Available online December 22, 2020

Volume 33,2021,Pages 216-224

The nondestructive characterization of the mixing state of individual fine particles using the traditional single particle analysis technique remains a challenge. In this study, fine particles were collected during haze events under different pollution levels from September 5 to 11 2017 in Beijing, China. A nondestructive surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) technique was employed to investigate the morphology, chemical composition, and mixing state of the multiple components in the individual fine particles. Optical image and SERS spectral analysis results show that soot existing in the form of opaque material was predominant during clear periods (PM2.5 ≤ 75 µg/m3). During polluted periods (PM2.5 > 75 µg/m3), opaque particles mixed with transparent particles (nitrates and sulfates) were generally observed. Direct classical least squares analysis further identified the relative abundances of the three major components of the single particles: soot (69.18%), nitrates (28.71%), and sulfates (2.11%). A negative correlation was observed between the abundance of soot and the mass concentration of PM2.5. Furthermore, mapping analysis revealed that on hazy days, PM2.5 existed as a core-shell structure with soot surrounded by nitrates and sulfates. This mixing state analysis method for individual PM2.5 particles provides information regarding chemical composition and haze formation mechanisms, and has the potential to facilitate the formulation of haze prevention and control policies.

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