Experimental investigation of ion-ion recombination under atmospheric conditions

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We present the results of laboratory measurements of the ion-ion recombination coefficient at different temperatures, relative humidities and concentrations of ozone and sulfur dioxide. The experiments were carried out using the Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets (CLOUD) chamber at CERN, the walls of which are made of conductive material, making it possible to measure small ions. We produced ions in the chamber using a 3.5 GeV c<sup>&minus;1</sup> beam of positively-charged pions (&pi;<sup>+</sup>) from the CERN Proton Synchrotron (PS) and with galactic cosmic rays, when the PS was switched off. The range of the ion production rate varied from 2 to 100 cm<sup>&minus;3</sup>s<sup>&minus;1</sup>, covering the typical range of ionization throughout the troposphere. The temperature ranged from &minus;55 to 20 °C, the relative humidity from 0 to 70%, the SO<sub>2</sub> concentration from 0 to 40 ppb, and the ozone concentration from 200 to 700 ppb. At 20 °C and 40% RH, the retrieved ion-ion recombination coefficient was (2.3 ± 0.7) &times; 10<sup>&minus;6</sup>cm<sup>3</sup>s<sup>&minus;1</sup>. We observed no dependency of the ion-ion recombination coefficient on ozone concentration and a weak variation with sulfur dioxide concentration. However, we found a strong dependency of the ion-ion recombination coefficient on temperature. We compared our results with three different models and found an overall agreement for temperatures above 0 °C, but a disagreement at lower temperatures. We observed a strong dependency of the recombination coefficient on relative humidity, which has not been reported previously.




Franchin, A., Ehrhart, S., Leppä, J., Nieminen, T., Gagné, S., Schobesberger, S., … Kulmala, M. (2015). Experimental investigation of ion-ion recombination under atmospheric conditions. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 15(13), 7203–7216. https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-15-7203-2015

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