Real time analysis of atmospheric single particles in urban environments using aerosol time of flight mass spectrometry

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McGillicuddy, Eoin
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University College Cork
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In order to determine the size-resolved chemical composition of single particles in real-time an ATOFMS was deployed at urban background sites in Paris and Barcelona during the MEGAPOLI and SAPUSS monitoring campaigns respectively. The particle types detected during MEGAPOLI included several carbonaceous species, metal-containing types and sea-salt. Elemental carbon particle types were highly abundant, with 86% due to fossil fuel combustion and 14% attributed to biomass burning. Furthermore, 79% of the EC was apportioned to local emissions and 21% to continental transport. The carbonaceous particle types were compared with quantitative measurements from other instruments, and while direct correlations using particle counts were poor, scaling of the ATOFMS counts greatly improved the relationship. During SAPUSS carbonaceous species, sea-salt, dust, vegetative debris and various metal-containing particle types were identified. Throughout the campaign the site was influenced by air masses altering the composition of particles detected. During North African air masses the city was heavily influenced by Saharan dust. A regional stagnation was also observed leading to a large increase in carbonaceous particle counts. While the ATOFMS provides a list of particle types present during the measurement campaigns, the data presented is not directly quantitative. The quantitative response of the ATOFMS to metals was examined by comparing the ion signals within particle mass spectra and to hourly mass concentrations of; Na, K, Ca, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Zn and Pb. The ATOFMS was found to have varying correlations with these metals depending on sampling issues such as matrix effects. The strongest correlations were observed for Al, Fe, Zn, Mn and Pb. Overall the results of this work highlight the excellent ability of the ATOFMS in providing composition and mixing state information on atmospheric particles at high time resolution. However they also show its limitations in delivering quantitative information directly.
Atmospheric aerosols , ATOFMS , Urban aerosols , Aerosol mass spectrometry , Single particle mass spectrometry
McGillicuddy, E. J. 2014. Real time analysis of atmospheric single particles in urban environments using aerosol time of flight mass spectrometry. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.