Physical Properties of Aerosol Internally Mixed With Soot Particles in a Biogenically Dominated Environment in California

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©2018. The Authors. Atmospheric soot particles are often internally mixed with organic aerosol. The geometric distribution of the mixing components affects the soot particles' radiative properties. Here we present an electron microscopy analysis of particles collected in a biogenically dominated environment to understand how the viscosity of secondary organic aerosol relates to various soot mixing configurations. The shape of particles impacting on a substrate deforms according to their viscosity. We use the aspect ratio of individual particles determined by tilt angle imaging to classify them into low, intermediate, and high viscosity groups. Ninety percent of the particles partially engulfing soot belong to the intermediate viscosity regime. In contrast, the highly viscous organic aerosol remains externally mixed with or attaches to the surface of soot particles. Our results link the viscosity of organic aerosol with the mixing configuration of soot-containing particles. Including these findings in mixing state models could improve estimates of the soot radiative forcing.

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Geophysical Research Letters