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Laboratory Studies of Carbon Kinetic Isotope Effects on the Production Mechanism of Particulate Phenolic Compounds Formed by Toluene Photooxidation: A Tool to Constrain Reaction Pathways

Satoshi Irei, Jochen Rudolph, Lin Huang, Janeen Auld, Fabrice Collin and Donald Hastie

The Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 2015, 119 (1), pp. 5-13, DOI: 10.1021/jp5104609.

In this study, we examined compound-specific stable carbon isotope ratios for phenolic compounds in secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formed by photooxidation of isotope-label-free toluene. SOA generated by photooxidation of toluene using a continuous-flow reactor and an 8 m(3) indoor smog chamber was collected on filters, which were extracted with acetonitrile for compound-specific analysis. Eight phenolic compounds were identified in the extracts using a gas chromatograph coupled with a mass spectrometer, and their compound-specific stable carbon isotope ratios were determined using a gas chromatograph coupled with a combustion furnace followed by an isotope ratio mass spectrometer. The majority of products, including methylnitrophenols and methylnitrocatechols, were isotopically depleted by 5-6‰ compared to the initial isotope ratio of toluene, whereas the isotope ratio for 4-nitrophenol remained identical to that of toluene. On the basis of the reaction mechanisms proposed in previous reports, stable carbon isotope ratios of these products were calculated. By comparing the observed isotope ratios with the predicted isotope ratios, we explored possible production pathways for the particulate phenolic compounds.

Updated on January 13th, 2015.