Project title: Quantifying secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formed through cloud chemistry and cloud droplet evaporation
Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) is a substantial contributor to atmospheric organic particulate matter; however, its formation via aqueous photochemistry (in-cloud) is only beginning to be understood. This research focuses on SOA and its formation through cloud water chemistry and droplet evaporation. Using a precursor that is found in cloud water (i.e., glycolaldehyde) I conduct aqueous oxidation reactions (with hydroxyl radicals) and droplet evaporation experiments to provide cloud-produced SOA yields. Droplets of known size are formed using standard solutions and experimental samples, then they are evaporated, and their final particle size measured. Additionally, the volatility of the SOA is determined by comparing the behavior of the experimental samples with that of individual organic standards spanning a wide range of known vapor pressures. These measurements can be used to validate and refine the treatment of in-cloud SOA formation in climate models and regional air quality models. This is most relevant in New Jersey due to regional transport, frequent cloud cover, and substantial photochemistry during the summer.