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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-2019-42
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-42
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 11 Feb 2019

Research article | 11 Feb 2019

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

Separation and detection of aqueous atmospheric aerosol mimics using supercritical fluid chromatography–mass spectrometry

Daisy N. Grace1, Melissa B. Sebold1,a, and Melissa M. Galloway1 Daisy N. Grace et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry, Lafayette College, PA, USA
  • anow at: Department of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Abstract. Atmospheric particles contain thousands of compounds with many different functional groups and a wide range of polarities. Typical separation methods for aqueous atmospheric systems include reverse-phase liquid chromatography or derivatization of the analytes of interest followed by gas chromatography. These methods can be time-consuming and do not easily separate highly polar aqueous molecules. This study uses supercritical fluid chromatography-mass spectrometry to separate the methylglyoxal-ammonium sulfate reaction mixture as a proxy for aqueous atmospheric aerosol mimics. Several column compositions, mobile phase modifiers, and column temperatures were examined to determine their effect on separation and the optimum conditions for separation in a minimal amount of time and sample preparation. Polar columns such as the Viridis UPC2 BEH column combined with a mobile phase gradient of carbon dioxide and methanol provided the best separation of compounds in the mixture. This separation method can be extended to analyze other aqueous atmospheric systems, including the mixtures of other aldehydes or organic acids with ammonium or small amines.

Daisy N. Grace et al.
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Daisy N. Grace et al.
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Short summary
The identification and quantification of compounds within an atmospheric particle can be difficult to achieve. We present a new supercritical fluid chromatography method to separate these compounds prior to mass spectrometry analysis. The aqueous methylglyoxal-ammonium sulfate system was used as a proxy for atmospheric aerosol; polar columns combined with a carbon dioxide and methanol mobile phase provided the most efficient separation. This method can be extended to other atmospheric systems.
The identification and quantification of compounds within an atmospheric particle can be...
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