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Laser filament-induced aerosol formation

by H. Saathoff, S. Henin, K. Stelmaszczyk, M. Petrarca, R. Delagrange, Z. Hao, J. Lüder, O. Möhler, Y. Petit, P. Rohwetter, M. Schnaiter, J. Kasparian, T. Leisner, J. P. Wolf, L. Wöste show all authors
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics ()

Abstract

Using the aerosol and cloud simulation chamber AIDA, we investigated the laser filament induced particle formation in ambient air, humid synthetic air, humid nitrogen, argon–oxygen mixture, and pure argon in order to simulate the particle formation under realistic atmospheric conditions as well as to investigate the influence of typical gasphase atmospheric constituents on the particle formation. Terawatt laser plasma filaments generated new particles in the size range 3 to 130 nm with particle production rates ranging from 1 × 10 7 to 5 × 10 9 cm −3 plasma s −1 for the given experimental conditions. In all cases the particle formation rates increased exponentially with the water content of the gas mixture. Furthermore, the presence of a few ppb of trace gases like SO2 and α-pinene clearly enhanced the particle yield by number, the latter also by mass. Our findings suggest that new particle formation is efficiently supported by oxidized species like acids generated by the photoionization of both major and minor components of the air, including N2, NH3, SO2 and organics

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