Toward Quantifying the Mass-Based Hygroscopicity of Individual Submicron Atmospheric Aerosol Particles with STXM/NEXAFS and SEM/EDX
Friday, 19 December 2014: 8:54 AM
The hygroscopic behavior of atmospheric aerosols influences their optical and cloud-nucleation properties, and therefore affects climate. Although changes in particle size as a function of relative humidity have often been used to quantify the hygroscopic behavior of submicron aerosol particles, it has been noted that calculations of hygroscopicity based on size contain error due to particle porosity, non-ideal volume additivity and changes in surface tension. We will present a method to quantify the hygroscopic behavior of submicron aerosol particles based on changes in mass, rather than size, as a function of relative humidity. This method results from a novel experimental approach combining scanning transmission x-ray microscopy with near-edge x-ray absorption fine spectroscopy (STXM/NEXAFS), as well as scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX) on the same individual particles. First, using STXM/NEXAFS, our methods are applied to aerosol particles of known composition ‒ for instance ammonium sulfate, sodium bromide and levoglucosan ‒ and validated by theory. Then, using STXM/NEXAFS and SEM/EDX, these methods are extended to mixed atmospheric aerosol particles collected in the field at the DOE Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility at the Southern Great Planes sampling site in Oklahoma, USA. We have observed and quantified a range of hygroscopic behaviors which are correlated to the composition and morphology of individual aerosol particles. These methods will have implications for parameterizing aerosol mixing state and cloud-nucleation activity in atmospheric models.