Effect of NOx and RH on the secondary organic aerosol formation from toluene photooxidation

Gehui Wang , Shijie Liu , Xiaodi Liu , Yiqian Wang , Si Zhang , Can Wu , Wei Du , Maofa Ge , Yujing Mu , Jianmin Chen , Min Shao , Zifa Wang


Received May 31, 2021,Revised , Accepted June 16, 2021, Available online January 16, 2022

Volume 34,2022,Pages 1-9

The secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation mechanism and physicochemical properties can highly be influenced by relative humidity (RH) and NOx concentration. In this study, we performed a laboratory investigation of the SOA formation from toluene/OH photooxidation system in the presence or absence of NOx in dry and wet conditions. The chemical composition of toluene-derived SOA was measured using Aerodyne high-resolution time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS). It was found that the mass concentration of toluene decreased with increasing RH and NOx concentration. However, the change of SOA chemistry composition (f44, O/C) with increased RH was not consistent in the condition with or without NOx. The light absorption and mass absorption coefficient (MAC) of the toluene-derived SOA only increased with RH in the presence of NOx. In contrast, MAC is invariant with RH in the absence of NOx. HR-ToF-AMS results showed that, in the presence of NOx, the increased nitro-aromatic compounds and N/C ratio concurrently caused the increase of SOA light absorption and O/C in wet conditions, respectively. The relative intensity of CHON and CHOxN family to the total nitrogen-containing organic compounds (NOCs) increased with the increasing RH, and be the major components of NOCs in wet condition. This work revealed a synergy effect of NOx and RH on SOA formation from toluene photooxidation.

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