06 Sep 2022
06 Sep 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Online measurements of cycloalkanes based on NO+ chemical ionization in proton transfer reaction time of flight mass spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS)

Yubin Chen1,2, Bin Yuan1,2, Chaomin Wang3, Sihang Wang1,2, Xianjun He1,2, Caihong Wu1,2, Xin Song1,2, Yibo Huangfu1,2, Xiao-Bing Li1,2, Yijia Liao1,2, and Min Shao1,2 Yubin Chen et al.
  • 1Institute for Environmental and Climate Research, Jinan University, Guangzhou 511443, China
  • 2Guangdong-Hongkong-Macau Joint Laboratory of Collaborative Innovation for Environmental Quality, Guangzhou 511443, China
  • 3School of Tourism and Culture, Guangdong Eco-engineering Polytechnic, Guangzhou 510520, China

Abstract. Cycloalkanes are important trace hydrocarbons existing in the atmosphere, and they are considered as a major class of intermediate volatile organic compounds (IVOCs). Laboratory experiments showed that the yields of secondary organic aerosols (SOA) from oxidation of cycloalkanes are relatively higher than acyclic alkanes with the same carbon number. However, measurements of cycloalkanes in the atmosphere are still challenging at present. In this study, we show that online measurements of cycloalkanes can be achieved using proton transfer reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometry with NO+ chemical ionization (NO+ PTR-ToF-MS). Cyclic and bicyclic alkanes are ionized with NO+ via hydride ion transfer leading to major product ions of CnH2n-1+ and CnH2n-3+, respectively. As isomers of cycloalkanes, alkenes undergoes association reactions with major product ions of CnH2n•(NO)+, and concentrations of 1-alkenes and trans-2-alkenes in the atmosphere are usually significantly lower than cycloalkanes (about 25 % and <5 %, respectively), as the result inducing little interference to cycloalkanes detection in the atmosphere. Calibration of various cycloalkanes show similar sensitivities, associated with small humidity dependence. Appling this method, cycloalkanes were successfully measured at an urban site in southern China and a chassis dynamometer study for vehicular emissions. Concentrations of both cyclic and bicyclic alkanes are significant in urban air and vehicular emissions, with comparable cyclic alkanes/acyclic alkanes ratios between urban air and gasoline vehicles. These results demonstrates that NO+ PTR-ToF-MS provides a new complementary approach for fast characterization of cycloalkanes in both ambient air and emission sources, which can be helpful to fill the gap in understanding importance of cycloalkanes in the atmosphere.

Yubin Chen et al.

Status: open (until 26 Oct 2022)

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Yubin Chen et al.


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Short summary
In this study, we demonstrate selective online measurements of cycloalkanes can be achieved using proton transfer reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometry with NO+ chemical ionization (NO+ PTR-ToF-MS), with fast response and low detection limits. Applications of this method in both urban air and emission sources will be shown.