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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 13, issue 9 | Copyright
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 4593-4604, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-13-4593-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 03 May 2013

Research article | 03 May 2013

Laser filament-induced aerosol formation

H. Saathoff1, S. Henin2, K. Stelmaszczyk3, M. Petrarca2, R. Delagrange2, Z. Hao3, J. Lüder3, O. Möhler1, Y. Petit2, P. Rohwetter3, M. Schnaiter1, J. Kasparian2, T. Leisner1, J.-P. Wolf2, and L. Wöste3 H. Saathoff et al.
  • 1Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1, 76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany
  • 2GAP, Université de Genève, Chemin de Pinchat 22, 1211 Genève 4, Switzerland
  • 3Institut für Experimentalphysik, Freie Universität Berlin, Arnimallee 14, 14195 Berlin, Germany

Abstract. Using the aerosol and cloud simulation chamber AIDA, we investigated the laser filament induced particle formation in ambient air, humid synthetic air, humid nitrogen, argon–oxygen mixture, and pure argon in order to simulate the particle formation under realistic atmospheric conditions as well as to investigate the influence of typical gas-phase atmospheric constituents on the particle formation. Terawatt laser plasma filaments generated new particles in the size range 3 to 130 nm with particle production rates ranging from 1 × 107 to 5 × 109 cm−3 plasma s−1 for the given experimental conditions. In all cases the particle formation rates increased exponentially with the water content of the gas mixture. Furthermore, the presence of a few ppb of trace gases like SO2 and α-pinene clearly enhanced the particle yield by number, the latter also by mass. Our findings suggest that new particle formation is efficiently supported by oxidized species like acids generated by the photoionization of both major and minor components of the air, including N2, NH3, SO2 and organics.

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