Hello world … it’s the last week of summer break and we are well past due for an update on things going on in the UA Lab!


During the winter and spring we had a flurry of published papers by members of the group:

Postdoc Nanna Myllys, our resident molecular modeler, published a paper that explains why it is that a mixture of sulfuric acid, ammonia, and dimethylamine makes more particles compared to mixtures of sulfuric acid with ammonia or sulfuric acid with dimethylamine. There’s a synergy when all three compounds are mixed!

Nanna also performed a systematic modeling study of cluster formation between sulfuric acid and bases of varying strength:

Graduate student Sabrina Chee published a paper in the Journal of Physical Chemistry about nanoparticles formed from reactions of nitric acid with dimethylamine. That paper combines direct size-resolved chemical composition measurements of formed particles and some nifty modeling by Nanna that helps to explain our observations:

Graduate student Danielle Draper published a paper in the special issue of ACS Earth and Space Chemistry “New Advances in Organic Aerosol Chemistry” looking at the oxidation of delta-carene by nitrate radical. This is the first to emerge from our collaboration with Dr. Theo Kurten at the Univ. of Helsinki and Prof. Henrik Kjaergaard at the Univ. of Copenhagen:

Graduate student Hayley Glicker published a paper on our measurements of nanoparticle composition in the Amazon Rainforest of Brazil during the GoAmazon 2014/5 campaign. Hayley points out the importance of biogenic compounds in nanoparticle formation but also identified a major constituent as a nitrogen-containing organic that we hypothesize to be isocyanic acid. It’s still a bit of a mystery as to why it’s found in such small particles (at the time of this writing this link leads to a pre-print … the final version is accepted for publication):

Awards and Grants

During the summer we received news from the National Science Foundation that our proposal for the purchase of a ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometer was been awarded. For the curious,  we will receive a Thermo Vanquish UHPLC + Q-Exactive Plus Orbitrap mass spectrometer. It will arrive in the fall.

Nanna Myllys received the 2019 Early Career Scientist Aerosologist award from the Nordic Society for Aerosol Research (NOSA), in recognition of her amazing work as a postdoc in our group and as a graduate student at the Univ. of Helsinki. This was conferred during the European Aerosol Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden.


At the start of the summer, Mike Lawler, Hayley Glicker and Sabrina Chee went down to the Hydraulics Laboratory at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego to participate in a huge laboratory study called SeaSCAPE (Sea Spray Chemistry And Particle Evolution). These experiments replicated natural sea spray aerosol in a controlled setting, allowing for detailed fundamental studies of aerosol reactions. Look for more updates on this study to come.

In July we hosted Reed College Prof. Julie Fry and her students, Andrey and Emily, for experiments in our chamber lab on new particle formation and growth from nitrate radical initiated oxidation of various monoterpenes. Here are some action shots from the lab:

A larger group of undergrads from Reed came for a 2-day visit to learn about life as a grad student at UCI. Their visit included a roundtable discussion with UCI chemistry graduate students. Here are some shots from that event: