Recent lab and field measurements have indicated critical roles of organic acids in enhancing new atmospheric aerosol formation. Such findings have stimulated theoretical studies with the aim of understanding the interaction of organic acids with common aerosol nucleation precursors like bisulfate (HSO 4-). We report a combined negative ion photoelectron spectroscopic and theoretical investigation of molecular clusters formed by HSO4- with succinic acid (SUA, HO2C(CH 2)2CO2H), HSO4-(SUA) n (n = 0-2), along with HSO4-(H 2O)n and HSO4-(H2SO 4)n. It is found that one SUA molecule can stabilize HSO4- by ca. 39 kcal/mol, three times the corresponding value that one water molecule is capable of (ca. 13 kcal/mol). Molecular dynamics simulations and quantum chemical calculations reveal the most plausible structures of these clusters and attribute the stability of these clusters to the formation of strong hydrogen bonds. This work provides direct experimental evidence showing significant thermodynamic advantage by involving organic acid molecules to promote formation and growth in bisulfate clusters and aerosols.
- Aerosol Processes
- Environmental and Atmospheric Chemistry
- and Astrochemistry