Triplet-state chromophoric dissolved organic matter (3CDOM∗) plays an important role in aquatic photochemistry, yet much remains unknown about the reactivity of these intermediates. To better understand the kinetic behavior and reactivity of 3CDOM∗, we have developed an indirect observation method based on monitoring time-resolved singlet oxygen (1O2) phosphorescence kinetics. The underpinning principle of our approach relies on the fact that O2 quenches almost all triplets with near diffusion limited rate constants, resulting in the formation of 1O2, which is kinetically linked to the precursors. A kinetic model relating 1O2 phosphorescence kinetics to triplet excited states produced from isolated humic substances and in whole natural-water samples (hereafter referred to as 3CDOM∗) was developed and used to determine rate constants governing 3CDOM∗ natural lifetimes and quenching by oxygen and 2,4,6-trimethylphenol (TMP), a common triplet probe molecule. 3CDOM∗ was found to exhibit smaller O2 and TMP quenching rate constants, ∼9 × 108 and ∼8 × 108 M-1 s-1, respectively, compared with model sensitizers, such as aromatic ketones. Findings from this report shed light on the fundamental photochemical properties of CDOM in organic matter isolates and whole waters and will help refine photochemical models to more accurately predict pollutant fate in the environment.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was financially supported by a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant no. 200021_156198). K.J.M. was supported by an ETH Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. W.A.A. and D.E.L. are supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (grant nos. CBET-1434148 and CBET-1434313). We thank Dr. Vivian Lin for collecting the Great Dismal Swamp water.