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Environ Sci Technol. 2001 Aug 1;35(15):3130-8.

Formation of aerosol particles from reactions of secondary and tertiary alkylamines: characterization by aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometry.

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Department of Chemistry, University of California, Riverside 92521-0403, USA.


In ambient field studies conducted with aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ATOFMS), individual particle mass spectra commonly contain ion peaks at mass/charge (m/z) 86, 101, 102, and 118. Particles with mass spectra containing these peaks show a strong correlation with high relative humidity and low temperatures. In an effort to identify these peaks, a series of smog chamber studies were conducted probing the chemistry of secondary and tertiary alkylamines. Specifically, in separate studies, trimethylamine, di- and triethylamine, and di- and tripropylamine were reacted in a 1 m3 Teflon outdoor smog chamber with naturally occurring levels of gas phase oxidants in ambient air. The aerodynamic sizes and individual mass spectra of the resulting aerosol particles were acquired continuously using aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ATOFMS). Both oxidation and acid-base reactions between amines and acids commonly present in the atmosphere (i.e., nitric and sulfuric acid) appear to play roles in the formation and chemistry of organic nitrogen-containing particle phase species. Ion peaks in the individual particle mass spectra indicate the presence of alkyl ammonium salts, as well as other tentatively identified organic N-containing compounds formed by oxidation processes. Also, for the first time, tertiary alkylamine-N-oxides have been identified as alkylamine oxidation products in the aerosol particle phase. Smog chamber reactions involving triethylamine produce ATOFMS mass spectra with similar ion peak combinations as those observed in the spectra of particles commonly detected in ambient and vehicular source characterization studies. The results of this study suggest that amine chemistry involving gas-to-particle conversion and photooxidation processes may play a significant role in particle formation in regions with high amine concentrations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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