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Aqueous-phase formation of N-containing secondary organic compounds affected by the ionic strength

Xiaofei Wang , Yuqi Gan , Xiaohui Lu , Shaodong Chen , Xinghua Jiang , Shanye Yang , Xiewen Ma , Mei Li , Fan Yang , Yewen Shi


Received November 19, 2022,Revised , Accepted March 02, 2023, Available online March 10, 2023

Volume 36,2024,Pages 88-101

The reaction of carbonyl-to-imine/hemiaminal conversion in the atmospheric aqueous phase is a critical pathway to produce the light-absorbing N-containing secondary organic compounds (SOC). The formation mechanism of these compounds has been wildly investigated in bulk solutions with a low ionic strength. However, the ionic strength in the aqueous phase of the polluted atmosphere may be higher. It is still unclear whether and to what extent the inorganic ions can affect the SOC formation. Here we prepared the bulk solution with certain ionic strength, in which glyoxal and ammonium were mixed to mimic the aqueous-phase reaction. Molecular characterization by High-resolution Mass Spectrometry was performed to identify the N-containing products, and the light absorption of the mixtures was measured by ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy. Thirty-nine N-containing compounds were identified and divided into four categories (N-heterocyclic chromophores, high-molecular-weight compounds with N-heterocycle, aliphatic imines/hemiaminals, and the unclassified). It was observed that the longer reaction time and higher ionic strength led to the formation of more N-heterocyclic chromophores and the increasing of the light-absorbance of the mixture. The added inorganic ions were proposed to make the aqueous phase somewhat viscous so that the molecules were prone to undergo consecutive and intramolecular reactions to form the heterocycles. In general, this study revealed that the enhanced ionic strength and prolonged reaction time had the promotion effect on the light-absorbing SOC formation. It implies that the aldehyde-derived aqueous-phase SOC would contribute more light-absorbing particulate matter in the industrial or populated area where inorganic ions are abundant.

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