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Cluster activation theory as an explanation of the linear dependence between formation rate of 3nm particles and sulphuric acid concentration

by M. Kulmala, K. E. J. Lehtinen, A. Laaksonen
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics ()

Abstract

According to atmospheric observations new particle\nformation seems to be a function of sulphuric acid\nconcentration to the power from one to two. The\nnucleation theorem then predicts that the critical\ncluster contains one to two sulphuric acid molecules.\nHowever, existing nucleation theories predicts that the\npower is more (or equal) than 2. Here we present an\nactivation theory, which can explain the observed\nslope. In cluster activation the clusters containing\none sulphuric acid molecule will activate for further\ngrowth due to heterogeneous nucleation, heterogeneous\nchemical reactions including polymerization or\nactivation of soluble clusters. In the activation\nprocess organic vapours are typically needed as\ncondensing agents.

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