Glyoxal uptake on ammonium sulphate seed aerosol: reaction products and reversibility of uptake under dark and irradiated conditions
Chamber studies of glyoxal uptake onto ammonium sulphate aerosol were performed under dark and irradiated conditions to gain further insight into processes controlling glyoxal uptake onto ambient aerosol. Organic fragments from glyoxal dimers and trimers were observed within the aerosol under dark and irradiated conditions. Glyoxal monomers and oligomers were the dominant organic compounds formed under the conditions of this study; glyoxal oligomer formation and overall organic growth were found to be reversible under dark conditions. Analysis of high-resolution time-of-flight aerosol mass spectra provides evidence for irreversible formation of carbon-nitrogen (C-N) compounds in the aerosol. We have identified 1H-imidazole-2-carboxaldehyde as one C-N product. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first time C-N compounds resulting from condensed phase reactions with ammonium sulphate seed have been detected in aerosol. Organosulphates were not detected under dark conditions. However, active photochemistry was found to occur within aerosol during irradiated experiments. Carboxylic acids and organic esters were identified within the aerosol. An organosulphate, which had been previously assigned as glyoxal sulphate in ambient samples and chamber studies of isoprene oxidation, was observed only in the irradiated experiments. Comparison with a laboratory synthesized standard and chemical considerations strongly suggest that this organosulphate is glycolic acid sulphate, an isomer of the previously proposed glyoxal sulphate. Our study shows that reversibility of glyoxal uptake should be taken into account in SOA models and also demonstrates the need for further investigation of C-N compound formation and photochemical processes, in particular organosulphate formation.