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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 20 Nov 2018

Research article | 20 Nov 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Quantitative capabilities of STXM to measure spatially resolved organic volume fractions of mixed organic/inorganic particle

Matthew Fraund1, Tim Park1, Lin Yao2, Daniel Bonanno1, Don Q. Pham1, and Ryan C. Moffet1,a Matthew Fraund et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA, 95211, USA
  • 2Department of Chemistry, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100875, China
  • acurrent address: Sonoma Technology, Petaluma, CA, 94954, USA

Abstract. Scanning Transmission X-ray Microscopy coupled with Near-Edge X-ray Absorption and Fine Structure (STXM/NEXAFS) spectroscopy can be used to characterize the morphology and composition of aerosol particles. Here, two inorganic/organic systems are used to validate the determination of Organic Volume Fraction (OVF) from STXM data and to determine the level of associated error. Using the mixture of sodium chloride and sucrose as one system and ammonium sulfate and sucrose as another, three solutions each were made with 10:1, 1:1, and 1:10 mass ratios (inorganic to organic). The OVF of the organic rich aerosols of both systems deviated from the bulk OVF by less than 1%, while the inorganic rich aerosols deviated by approximately 1%. Aerosols from the equal mass mixture deviated more (about 4%) due to thick inorganic regions exceeding the linear range of Beer’s Law. These calculations were performed after checking the data for image alignment, defocusing issues, and particles too thick to be analyzed. The potential for systematic error in the OVF calculation was also tested by assuming the incorrect composition. There is a small (about 0.5%) OVF difference if adipic acid is assumed rather than sucrose, and a much larger (up to 25%) difference if sodium chloride is assumed instead of ammonium sulfate. These results show that, with attention paid to ensuring quality data, an OVF value within 1% of the theoretical value can be determined.

Matthew Fraund et al.
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Matthew Fraund et al.
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Short summary
Scanning Transmission X-ray Microscopy (STXM) is a powerful tool which is able to determine the elemental and functional composition of aerosols on a sub-particle level. The current work validates the use of STXM for quantitatively calculating the organic volume fraction of individual aerosols by applying the calculation to lab-prepared samples. The caveats and limitations for this calculation are shown as well.
Scanning Transmission X-ray Microscopy (STXM) is a powerful tool which is able to determine the...