Size-Resolved Nanoparticle Composition Project (in collaboration with UCR’s Prof. Kelley Barsanti and Prof. Bryan Wong)
The goal of this project is to test how well bulk-phase pKa and pKb represent chemical processes of acids and bases in and on atmospheric nanoparticles. In our case, we refer to nanoparticles as particles of the size range less than or equal to 50 nm. We are collaborating with UC Riverside’s Prof. Kelley Barsanti (mechanistic modeling) and Prof. Bryan Wong (molecular modeling with DFT) in order to bridge the gap between experimental results and theoretical modeling to gain a better idea of what is happening in these tiny particles, both within our measurement range above a 5 nm particle diameter and below. For our part of this project, we are producing atmospheric nanoparticles by reacting various organic and inorganic acids and bases under different environmental variables (temperature, relative humidity) and seeing how these variables affect particle growth and composition. This project utilizes our Thermal Desorption Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer (TDCIMS), as well as a myriad of other analytical techniques, to probe nanoparticle composition. From these techniques, we are able to get size-resolved measurements of nanoparticle composition and compare our results with computational methods so that we can better understand the acid-base chemistry occurring within ambient nanoparticles.