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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-184
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-184
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 19 Jun 2019

Research article | 19 Jun 2019

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

Molecular Characterization of Alkyl Nitrates in Atmospheric Aerosols by Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry

Xuan Zhang1, Haofei Zhang2,3, Wen Xu4, Geoffrey S. Tyndall1, John J. Orlando1, John T. Jayne4, Douglas R. Worsnop4, and Manjula R. Canagaratna4 Xuan Zhang et al.
  • 1Atmospheric Chemistry Observation & Modeling Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80301, USA
  • 2Department of Chemistry, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA
  • 3Environmental Toxicology Program, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA
  • 4Center for Aerosol and Cloud Chemistry, Aerodyne Research Inc., Billerica, MA01821, USA

Abstract. We demonstrate the capability of the Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry (IMS-MS) for molecular characterization of reactive and short-lived alkyl nitrates (ANs) in atmospheric aerosols. We show significantly enhanced production of ion adducts from a selection of alkyl nitrates by clustering with inorganic anions such as chloride and nitrate during negative electrospray, a special chemical ionization mechanism in the condensed phase. This approach enables the detection of ANs that have low tendency to form molecular ions on their own by electrospray ionization. Molecular identity of each AN adduct is well constrained by the developed collision cross section vs. mass to charge ratio correlation, which provides a two-dimensional separation of the –ONO2 containing compounds on the basis of their molecular size and geometry. Structural information of AN molecules is further probed by the identification of characteristic fragments produced from the collision induced dissociation of parent AN adducts. Application of the IMS-MS technique is exemplified by the identification of hydroxy nitrates in secondary organic aerosols produced from isoprene photochemistry.

Xuan Zhang et al.
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