Department of Environmental Sciences

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Seminar Abstracts
Environmental Sciences Seminar Abstract            

  Atmospheric Organic Chemistry
Frank Keutch
University of Wisconsin

The reactions and fate of organic molecules are central to the formation of tropospheric ozone and secondary organic aerosol (SOA), which affect human health and climate. Although this connection is well established the details of atmospheric (photo)chemical reactions of organic molecules remain poorly understood. This is especially true for condensed-phase (aerosol) reactions that determine the formation of SOA and the organic chemistry of SOA has not been well studied. We have conducted studies aimed at elucidating the details of these organic reactions using glyoxal, the smallest dicarbonyl, as a model system. The results show that even this small molecule has complex behavior, including oligomerization and formation of heterocylic aromatic compounds. We discuss factors that influence the partitioning of glyoxal between the gas- and aerosol-phase as well as the fate of glyoxal within the aerosol. In addition, we present a study of the stability of different classes of organosulfates, proposed to contribute substantially to ambient aerosol, and we show quantitative results for organosulfates in ambient aerosol using laboratory synthesized standards.

Last updated: 02/15/2011