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Saturday, January 9, 2010

M. E. Monge et al., PNAS, Jan. 6, 2010: Light changes the atmospheric reactivity of soot

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print January 6, 2010; doi: 10.1073/pnas.0908341107

Light changes the atmospheric reactivity of soot

Maria Eugenia Monge, Barbara D’Anna, Linda Mazri, Anne Giroir-Fendler, Markus Ammann, D. J. Donaldson and Christian George

Edited by Barbara J. Finlayson-Pitts, University of California, Irvine, CA, and approved November 11, 2009 (received for review July 27, 2009.


Soot particles produced by incomplete combustion processes are one of the major components of urban air pollution. Chemistry at their surfaces lead to the heterogeneous conversion of several key trace gases; for example NO2 interacts with soot and is converted into HONO, which rapidly photodissociates to form OH in the troposphere. In the dark, soot surfaces are rapidly deactivated under atmospheric conditions, leading to the current understanding that soot chemistry affects tropospheric chemical composition only in a minor way. We demonstrate here that the conversion of NO2 to HONO on soot particles is drastically enhanced in the presence of artificial solar radiation, and leads to persistent reactivity over long periods. Soot photochemistry may therefore be a key player in urban air pollution.

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