Articles | Volume 11, issue 5
Research article
30 May 2018
Research article |  | 30 May 2018

Identification of organic hydroperoxides and peroxy acids using atmospheric pressure chemical ionization–tandem mass spectrometry (APCI-MS/MS): application to secondary organic aerosol

Shouming Zhou, Jean C. Rivera-Rios, Frank N. Keutsch, and Jonathan P. D. Abbatt

Abstract. Molecules with hydroperoxide functional groups are of extreme importance to both the atmospheric and biological chemistry fields. In this work, an analytical method is presented for the identification of organic hydroperoxides and peroxy acids (ROOH) by direct infusion of liquid samples into a positive-ion atmospheric pressure chemical ionization–tandem mass spectrometer ((+)-APCI-MS/MS). Under collisional dissociation conditions, a characteristic neutral loss of 51 Da (arising from loss of H2O2+NH3) from ammonium adducts of the molecular ions ([M + NH4]+) is observed for ROOH standards (i.e. cumene hydroperoxide, isoprene-4-hydroxy-3-hydroperoxide (ISOPOOH), tert-butyl hydroperoxide, 2-butanone peroxide and peracetic acid), as well as the ROOH formed from the reactions of H2O2 with aldehydes (i.e. acetaldehyde, hexanal, glyoxal and methylglyoxal). This new ROOH detection method was applied to methanol extracts of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) material generated from ozonolysis of α-pinene, indicating a number of ROOH molecules in the SOA material. While the full-scan mass spectrum of SOA demonstrates the presence of monomers (mz = 80–250), dimers (mz = 250–450) and trimers (mz = 450–600), the neutral loss scan shows that the ROOH products all have masses less than 300 Da, indicating that ROOH molecules may not contribute significantly to the SOA oligomeric content. We anticipate this method could also be applied to biological systems with considerable value.