Seasonal variations in the production of singlet oxygen and organic triplet excited states in aqueous PM2.5 in Hong Kong SAR, South China

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9245-9263
Journal / PublicationAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Volume23
Issue number16
Online published22 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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Abstract

Photooxidants drive many atmospheric chemical processes. The photoexcitation of light-absorbing organic compounds (i.e., brown carbon, BrC) in atmospheric waters can lead to the generation of reactive organic triplet excited states (3C*), which can undergo further reactions to produce other photooxidants such as singlet oxygen (1O2*). To determine the importance of these aqueous photooxidants in secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation and transformation, we must know their steady-state concentrations and quantum yields. However, there have been limited measurements of aqueous 3C* and 1O2* in atmospheric samples outside of North America and Europe. In this work, we report the first measurements of the steady-state concentrations and quantum yields of 3C* and 1O2* produced in aerosols in South China. We quantified the production of 3C* and 1O2* in illuminated aqueous extracts of PM2.5 collected in different seasons at two urban sites and one coastal semi-rural site during a year-round study conducted in Hong Kong SAR, South China. The mass absorption coefficients at 300 nm for BrC in the aqueous PM2.5 extracts ranged from 0.49 to 2.01 m2 g-C−1 for the three sites. Both 1O2* and 3C* were produced year-round. The steady-state concentrations of 1O2* ([1O2*]ss) in the illuminated aqueous extracts ranged from 1.56 × 10−14 to 1.35 × 10−12 M, with a study average of (4.02 ± 3.52) × 10−13 M. At nearly 2 orders of magnitude lower than [1O2*]ss, the steady-state concentrations of 3C* ([3C*]ss) ranged from 2.93 × 10−16 to 8.08 × 10−14 M, with a study average of (1.09 ± 1.39) × 10−14 M. The quantum yields of 1O2* and 3C* also spanned wide ranges across samples, with a range of 1.19 % to 13.74 % and an average of (5.19 ± 2.63) % for 1O2* and a range of 0.05 % to 3.24 % and an average of (0.56 ± 0.66) % for 3C*. The [1O2*]ss and [3C*]ss correlated with the concentration and absorbance of BrC, thus implying that the amount of BrC drives the steady-state concentrations of these photooxidants. The locations (urban vs. semi-rural) did not have a significant effect on [3C*]ss and [1O2*]ss, which indicated that BrC from local sources did not have a significant influence on the year-round 3C* and 1O2* production. 3C* and 1O2* production were found to be the highest in winter and the lowest in summer for all three sites. The observed seasonal trends of 1O2* and 3C* production could be attributed to the seasonal variations in the long-range air mass transport. Our analysis highlighted the key role that regional sources play in influencing the composition and concentrations of water-soluble BrC in winter PM2.5 in Hong Kong SAR, which contributed to their highest 3C* and 1O2* production. The current results will be useful for modeling seasonal aqueous organic aerosol photochemistry in the South China region. © Author(s) 2023.

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Seasonal variations in the production of singlet oxygen and organic triplet excited states in aqueous PM2.5 in Hong Kong SAR, South China. / Lyu, Yuting; Lam, Yin Hau; Li, Yitao et al.
In: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 23, No. 16, 2023, p. 9245-9263.

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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