his study presents a chemical ionization mass spectrometer (CIMS) for fast response, in-situ measurements of gas phase ammonia (NH3). The NH3 background level detected with the CIMS ranged between 0.3–1 ppbv, with an uncertainty of 30 pptv under optimized conditions. The instrument sensitivity varied from 4–25 Hz/pptv for >1 MHz of reagent ion signals (protonated ethanol ions), with a 30% uncertainty estimated based on variability in calibration signals. The CIMS detection limit for NH3 was ~60 pptv at a 1 min integration time (3 sigma). The CIMS time response was <30 s. this new>NH3-CIMS has been used for ambient measurements in Kent, Ohio, for several weeks throughout three seasons. The measured NH3 mixing ratios were usually at the sub-ppbv level and higher in spring (200 ± 120 pptv) than in winter (60 ± 75 pptv) and fall (150 ± 80 pptv). High emissions of SO2 from power plants in this region, and thus possible high acidity of aerosol particles, may explain these low NH3 mixing ratios in general.
Ternary Homogeneous Nucleation of H2SO4, NH3, and H2O Under Conditions Relevant to the Lower Troposphere05/20/2011
Ternary homogeneous nucleation (THN) of H2SO4, NH3 and H2O has been used to explain new particle formation in various atmospheric regions, yet laboratory measurements of THN have failed to reproduce atmospheric observations. Here, we report first laboratory observations of THN made under conditions relevant to the lower troposphere ([H2SO4] of 106–107 cm−3, [NH3] of 0.08–20 ppbv, and a temperature of 288 K). Our observations show that NH3 can enhance atmospheric H2SO4aerosol nucleation and the enhancement factor (EF) in nucleation rate (J) due to NH3 (the ratio of Jmeasured with vs. without NH3) increases linearly with increasing [NH3] and increases with decreasing [H2SO4] and RH. Two chemical ionization mass spectrometers (CIMS) are used to measure [H2SO4] and [NH3], as well as possible impurities of amines in the nucleation system. Aerosol number concentrations are measured with a water condensation counter (CPC, TSI 3786). The slopes of Log Jvs. Log [H2SO4], Log J vs. Log RH, and Log J vs. Log [NH3] are 3–5, 1–4, and 1, respectively. These slopes and the threshold of [H2SO4] required for the unity nucleation vary only fractionally in the presence and absence of NH3. These observations can be used to improve aerosol nucleation models to assess how man-made SO2 and NH3 affect aerosol formation and CCN production at the global scale.