Exploring the potential of nano-Köhler theory to describe the growth of atmospheric molecular clusters by organic vapors using cluster kinetics simulations

Jenni Kontkanen, Tinja Olenius, Markku Kulmala, Ilona Riipinen
2018 Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics  
<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> Atmospheric new particle formation (NPF) occurs by the formation of nanometer-sized molecular clusters and their subsequent growth to larger particles. NPF involving sulfuric acid, bases and oxidized organic compounds is an important source of atmospheric aerosol particles. One of the mechanisms suggested to depict this process is nano-Köhler theory, which describes the activation of inorganic molecular clusters to growth by a soluble organic vapor. In this work,
more » ... or. In this work, we studied the capability of nano-Köhler theory to describe the initial growth of atmospheric molecular clusters by simulating the dynamics of a cluster population in the presence of a sulfuric acid–base mixture and an organic compound. We observed nano-Köhler-type activation in our simulations when the saturation ratio of the organic vapor and the ratio between organic and inorganic vapor concentrations were in a suitable range. However, nano-Köhler theory was unable to predict the exact size at which the activation occurred in the simulations. In some conditions, apparent cluster growth rate (GR) started to increase close to the activation size determined from the simulations. Nevertheless, because the behavior of GR is also affected by other dynamic processes, GR alone cannot be used to deduce the cluster growth mechanism.</p>
doi:10.5194/acp-18-13733-2018 fatcat:ffpcoli57vbadns7sualuspwji