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Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemistry (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Chemistry

First Advisor

Lynn Rebecca Mazzoleni


Atmospheric aerosol water-soluble organic compounds (WSOC) exist in a complex mixture of thousands of organic compounds which may have a significant influence on the climate-relevant properties of the atmospheric aerosol. To understand the potential influences, the ambient aerosol was collected at a nonurban mountainous site near Steamboat Springs, CO. The WSOC fraction was analyzed using positive and negative electrospray ionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry. Approximately 2400 and 4000 molecular formulas were identified from the detected positive and negative ions, respectively. The formulas contained carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), and sulfur (S) atoms over the mass range of 100-800 Da in both ionization modes. The number range of double bond equivalents (DBE), the mean O:C, H:C, and oxidation state of carbon for the positive ions were 0 – 18, 0.25 ± 0.15, 1.39 ± 0.29, and -0.89 ± 0.23, respectively. Comparatively, the negative ion values were 0 – 14, 0.53 ± 0.20, 1.48 ± 0.30, and -0.41 ± 0.45, respectively. Overall, the positive ion molecular formulas were less oxygenated than negative ions as seen with the lower O:C and OSc values. Molecular formulas of the positive ions classified as aliphatic, olefinic, and aromatic compound classes based on the aromaticity index values. Aliphatic compounds were the CHNO and CHO formulas that had mean DBE values of about 5 and 3, respectively. However, a majority of the CHOS, CHNOS, and CHS formulas were defined as olefinic compounds and had mean DBE values of about 12, 13, and 10, respectively. Overall, more than half of the assigned molecular formulas contained sulfur and were olefinic to aromatic compounds with a DBE range of 7-18. Source of the unsaturated sulfur containing compounds is currently unknown. Several nitrogen containing compounds were in common with the field and laboratory studies of the biomass burning aerosol and aged secondary organic aerosol products of the limonene ozonolysis.