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Title: Novel methods to characterise atmospherically relevant organic radicals and reactive oxygen species
Author: Campbell, Steven John
ISNI:       0000 0004 7227 6727
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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A key reaction in the troposphere involves the oxidation of biogenic and anthropogenic alkenes with ozone, which contributes to local photochemical smog. It is generally accepted that this reaction proceeds via a reactive intermediate often called the Criegee intermediate (CI). This reaction is known to produce a plethora of oxidised organic compounds, which contribute to ozone formation and secondary organic aerosol production, two of the main characteristics of a polluted atmosphere. Furthermore, epidemiological studies have shown a close correlation between exposure to ambient organic aerosol and adverse human health effects. The toxicological mechanisms leading to this observation are still poorly characterised, although studies suggest that reactive oxygen species present in organic aerosol are a major contributor. Reactive oxygen species and reactive intermediates represent a large uncertainty in tropospheric chemistry, and pose an analytical challenge due to their high reactivity and typically low concentrations. This emphasises the need for the development of new methods to characterise the chemistry of these species. In this thesis, several novel laboratory based techniques have been developed in order to characterise and quantify reactive intermediates and reactive oxygen species. New methods to facilitate the detection of CIs in both the gas and particle phase are presented. Spin trap molecules are used to scavenge CIs to form stable 1:1 adducts which are subsequently detected and quantified using mass spectrometry. The chemistry of CIs with spin traps is extensively investigated. The unique capability of this technique to simultaneously characterise multiple CIs generated from a variety of atmospherically relevant organic precursors in the gas phase is demonstrated. This technique was further developed to facilitate the detection of CIs in secondary organic aerosol, representing the development of a method capable of characterising low volatility CIs and other reactive intermediates in the condensed phase. Furthermore, two new chemical fluorescence assays have been developed to quantify both organic radicals and reactive oxygen species in organic aerosol. A novel profluorescent spin trap assay was applied to quantify radical concentrations in organic aerosol. A series of experiments were then devised to investigate the lifetime of organic radicals in secondary organic aerosol. A second assay, based on physiologically relevant ascorbic acid chemistry, was also developed to measure the concentrations of toxicologically relevant reactive oxygen species in secondary organic aerosol. The quantitative capability of this assay was extensively characterised. The assay was incorporated into a prototype instrument capable of measuring particle-bound reactive oxygen species on-line, and the assays’ sensitivity to secondary organic aerosol was demonstrated.
Supervisor: Kalberer, Markus Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Atmospheric Chemistry ; chemistry ; aerosol ; Reactive oxygen species ; Air quality ; Air pollution ; Analytical chemistry ; criegee intermediates ; environmental chemistry