Molecular formula composition of β-caryophyllene ozonolysis SOA formed in humid and dry conditions

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We studied the molecular formula composition of six β-caryophyllene SOA samples using ultrahigh resolution Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry under various reaction conditions. The SOA samples were generated in dry or low relative humidity (RH) chamber conditions with or without cyclohexane. All of the studied SOA mass spectra have three distinct clusters of hundreds of negative ions referred to as Group I (100 < m/z < 400), Group II (400 < m/z < 700) and Group III (700 < m/z < 1 000) compounds. C14-16H22-28O2-11, C28-29H42-48O6-16 and C42-43H68-70O14-16 were observed as highly abundant organic compounds in the compound class of Group I, II and III, respectively. The relative intensities of most analytes were higher in humid conditions compared to those in dry conditions, indicating the importance of water-dependent reactions and the catalytic role of water both in the presence and absence of cyclohexane. In addition, molecular formulas with higher average carbon numbers were observed in humid SOA than in dry SOA in the absence of cyclohexane, suggesting a decrease of cleavage reactions in humid condition. This study characterizes β-caryophyllene ozonolysis SOA based on ultrahigh mass resolution and demonstrates the significance of humidity in terms of the molecular distributions and relative abundances of the analytes. We also discuss the possible mechanism for the formation of Group I-III compounds based on the current understanding of SOA formation in the atmosphere.

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© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2016.12.031

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Atmospheric Environment