Articles | Volume 3, issue 1
26 Feb 2010
 | 26 Feb 2010

Elemental analysis of aerosol organic nitrates with electron ionization high-resolution mass spectrometry

A. W. Rollins, J. L. Fry, J. F. Hunter, J. H. Kroll, D. R. Worsnop, S. W. Singaram, and R. C. Cohen

Abstract. Four hydroxynitrates (R(OH)R'ONO2) representative of atmospheric volatile organic compound (VOC) oxidation products were synthesized, nebulized and sampled into an Aerodyne High Resolution Time of Flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS). The resulting mass spectrum was used to evaluate calibration factors for elemental analysis of organic nitrates by AMS, and to determine the distribution of nitrogen in the detected fragments in a search for an AMS signature of organic nitrates. We found that 30% of the detected nitrogen mass is in the NO+ and NO2+ fragments, 12% at NHx+ fragments, 5% at CxHyOzN+ fragments, and 53% at various CxHyN+ fragments. Elemental analysis indicated that nitrogen was detected with higher efficiency than carbon and hydrogen, but oxygen was detected with reduced efficiency compared to previously reported results for a suite of organics which did not include organic nitrates. The results are used to suggest the maximum corrections to ambient O:C and N:C ratios based on AMS measurements.