Laboratory Measurements on Heterogeneous Nucleation and Growth of Water Vapor on Meteor Smoke Particle Analogues under Conditions of the Mesopause

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 5:46 PM
Denis Duft1, Mario Nachbar2, Henrike Wilms3, Markus Rapp3 and Thomas Leisner1, (1)Karlsruhe Institute of Technology - KIT, Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe, Germany, (2)University of Heidelberg, Institute of Environmental Physics, Heidelberg, Germany, (3)German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Wessling, Germany
Heterogeneous nucleation of water vapor on charged nanometer sized (radius< 2nm) meteor smoke particles (MSP) is believed to be the dominating nucleation process in the mesopause region leading to the formation of polar mesospheric clouds (PMC). However, application of classical nucleation theory to the cold conditions of the polar summer mesopause comprises large uncertainties giving rise to strongly variant model predictions of PMC formation. To reduce these uncertainties laboratory measurements of nucleation and growth rates are required.

We use an electrodynamic trap to investigate the nucleation and growth of water vapor on singly charged sub-3nm MSP analogues in the laboratory under mesospheric conditions typical during PMC growth initiation. The particles are created in a microwave plasma particle source and stored in a quadrupole ion trap under mesospheric pressure and temperature, where they are subjected to the high supersaturation necessary for nucleation and growth on nanometer sized particles. The particle mass and mass change by water accretion is monitored with a time-of-flight mass spectrometer as a function of residence time under supersaturated conditions.

In this contribution we present for the first time measurements of nucleation and growth rates of water vapor on MSP analogues with an initial radius between 1.5nm and 3 nm. Contact parameter, sticking coefficient as well as charge effects on vapor pressure of small particles at mesospheric conditions are presented. These parameters are essential for the microphysical understanding and further global model calculations of PMC formation.