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The Influence of Particle Phase State on the Growth Kinetics of Secondary Organic Aerosols

EMSL Project ID


We propose to investigate the influences of particle phase state and possible phase separation on the growth kinetics of secondary organic aerosols (SOA) formed from oxidation of selected anthropogenic and biogenic volatile organic compounds (in an environmental chamber) by observing the evolution of particle size distributions and size-dependent phase/viscosity, morphology, volatility, and molecular composition with EMSL’s single particle mass spectrometer (SPLAT II), electron microscopy, and nanospray desorption electrospray ionization high resolution mass spectrometry (nano-DESI HRMS).

We will use the resulting data sets to develop a fundamental molecular-level understanding of SOA formation processes, aerosol growth kinetics, and an efficient physicochemical parameterization for use in climate models. At the end of this project, we expect to have improved the representation of particle growth in atmospheric models by studying the fundamental relationship between SOA chemical composition, phase/viscosity, and particle growth kinetics and mechanisms. Aerosol growth kinetics fundamentally determines aerosol number-size distributions and therefore is critical to predicting many climate-relevant aerosol properties.

Project Details

Project type
Large-Scale EMSL Research
Start Date
End Date


Principal Investigator

Rahul Zaveri
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


John Shilling
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory