Measurements of Diffusion Coefficients in Particles Using Fluorescence Recovery after Photobleaching (FRAP)

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Yuri Chenyakin, Saeid Kamal and Allan K Bertram, University of British Columbia, Chemistry, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) particles are formed in the atmosphere via gas-to-particle conversion of low and semi volatile organic compounds. They are abundant in the atmosphere and can directly contribute to climate change by scattering solar radiation or indirectly by acting as cloud condensation nuclei or ice nuclei. There is also a health concern associated with SOA particles because they can make up a large fraction of suspended submicron particulate mass. In addition, a reduction in visibility in both polluted and rural areas can be due to SOA particles. Knowledge of diffusion coefficients of organic species within SOA particles is needed to predict the atmospheric behaviour and environmental impacts of these particles. Here we introduce a new method to determine diffusion coefficients of organic probes in particles made up of organic species as a function of relative humidity (RH). Our method involves using fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) to measure the diffusion coefficients of organic fluorescent dyes in organic particles with dimensions of approximately 25 µm. We validated this method by measuring diffusion coefficients of organic dyes of varied size in sucrose-water solutions as a function of RH and comparing these results with data from the literature. In the future this method will be applied to SOA particles.