Modelling the gas-particle partitioning and water uptake of isoprene-derived secondary organic aerosol at high and low relative humidity

Dalrin Ampritta Amaladhasan, Claudia Heyn, Christopher R. Hoyle, Imad El Haddad, Miriam Elser, Simone M. Pieber, Jay G. Slowik, Antonio Amorim, Jonathan Duplissy, Sebastian Ehrhart, Vladimir Makhmutov, Ugo Molteni, Matti Rissanen, Yuri Stozhkov, Robert Wagner, Armin Hansel, Jasper Kirkby, Neil M. Donahue, Rainer Volkamer, Urs BaltenspergerMartin Gysel-Beer, Andreas Zuend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This study presents a characterization of the hygroscopic growth behaviour and effects of different inorganic seed particles on the formation of secondary organic aerosols (SOAs) from the dark ozone-initiated oxidation of isoprene at low NOx conditions. We performed simulations of isoprene oxidation using a gas-phase chemical reaction mechanism based on the Master Chemical Mechanism (MCM) in combination with an equilibrium gas-particle partitioning model to predict the SOA concentration. The equilibrium model accounts for non-ideal mixing in liquid phases, including liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS), and is based on the AIOMFAC (Aerosol Inorganic-Organic Mixtures Functional groups Activity Coefficients) model for mixture non-ideality and the EVAPORATION (Estimation of VApour Pressure of ORganics, Accounting for Temperature, Intramolecular, and Non-additivity effects) model for pure compound vapour pressures. Measurements from the Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets (CLOUD) chamber experiments, conducted at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) for isoprene ozonolysis cases, were used to aid in parameterizing the SOA yields at different atmospherically relevant temperatures, relative humidity (RH), and reacted isoprene concentrations. To represent the isoprene-ozonolysis-derived SOA, a selection of organic surrogate species is introduced in the coupled modelling system. The model predicts a single, homogeneously mixed particle phase at all relative humidity levels for SOA formation in the absence of any inorganic seed particles. In the presence of aqueous sulfuric acid or ammonium bisulfate seed particles, the model predicts LLPS to occur below ~80% RH, where the particles consist of an inorganic-rich liquid phase and an organic-rich liquid phase; however, this includes significant amounts of bisulfate and water partitioned to the organic-rich phase. The measurements show an enhancement in the SOA amounts at 85% RH, compared to 35% RH, for both the seed-free and seeded cases. The model predictions of RH-dependent SOA yield enhancements at 85% RH vs. 35% RH are 1.80 for a seed-free case, 1.52 for the case with ammonium bisulfate seed, and 1.06 for the case with sulfuric acid seed. Predicted SOA yields are enhanced in the presence of an aqueous inorganic seed, regardless of the seed type (ammonium sulfate, ammonium bisulfate, or sulfuric acid) in comparison with seed-free conditions at the same RH level.We discuss the comparison of model-predicted SOA yields with a selection of other laboratory studies on isoprene SOA formation conducted at different temperatures and for a variety of reacted isoprene concentrations. Those studies were conducted at RH levels at or below 40% with reported SOA mass yields ranging from 0.3% up to 9.0 %, indicating considerable variations. A robust feature of our associated gas-particle partitioning calculations covering the whole RH range is the predicted enhancement of SOA yield at high RH (>80 %) compared to low RH (dry) conditions, which is explained by the effect of particle water uptake and its impact on the equilibrium partitioning of all components.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-244
Number of pages30
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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  • Dataset for Amaladhasan et al Study on RH-Dependent Isoprene SOA

    Amaladhasan, D. A. (Creator), Zuend, A. (Creator), Heyn, C. (Contributor), Holyle, C. R. (Contributor), Haddad, I. E. (Contributor), Elser, M. (Contributor), Pieber, S. M. (Contributor), Slowik, J. G. (Contributor), Amorim, A. (Contributor), Duplissy, J. (Contributor), Ehrhart, S. (Contributor), Makhmutov, V. (Contributor), Molteni, U. (Contributor), Rissanen, M. (Contributor), Stozhkov, Y. (Contributor), Wagner, R. (Contributor), Kirkby, J. (Contributor), Donahue, N. M. (Contributor), Baltensperger, U. (Contributor) & Gysel-Beer, M. (Contributor), 22 Feb 2021


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