Suppression of cluster ions during particle formation events in the atmosphere

Jayaratne, Rohan, Ling, Xuan, & Morawska, Lidia (2014) Suppression of cluster ions during particle formation events in the atmosphere. In 15th International Conference on Atmospheric Electricity (ICAE 2014), 16-20 June 2014, Norman, Oklahoma.


Cluster ions and charged and neutral nanoparticle concentrations were monitored using a neutral cluster and air ion spectrometer (NAIS) over a period of one year in Brisbane, Australia. The study yielded 242 complete days of usable data, of which particle formation events were observed on 101 days. Small, intermediate and large ion concentrations were evaluated in real time. In the diurnal cycle, small ion concentration was highest during the second half of the night while large ion concentrations were a maximum during the day. The small ion concentration showed a decrease when the large ion concentration increased.

Particle formation was generally followed by a peak in the intermediate ion concentration. The rate of increase of intermediate ions was used as the criteria for identifying particle formation events. Such events were followed by a period of growth to larger sizes and usually occurred between 8 am and 2 pm. Particle formation events were found to be related to the wind direction. The gaseous precursors for the production of secondary particles in the urban environment of Brisbane have been shown to be ammonia and sulfuric acid. During these events, the nanoparticle number concentrations in the size range 1.6 to 42 nm, which were normally lower than 1x104 cm-3, often exceeded 5x104 cm-3 with occasional values over 1x105 cm-3. Cluster ions generally occurred in number concentrations between 300 and 600 cm-3 but decreased significantly to about 200 cm-3 during particle formation events. This was accompanied by an increase in the large ion concentration.

We calculated the fraction of nanoparticles that were charged and investigated the occurrence of possible overcharging during particle formation events. Overcharging is defined as the condition where the charged fraction of particles is higher than in charge equilibrium. This can occur when cluster ions attach to neutral particles in the atmosphere, giving rise to larger concentrations of charged particles in the short term. Ion-induced nucleation is one of the mechanisms of particle formation in the atmosphere, and overcharging has previously been considered as an indicator of this process. The possible role of ions in particle formation was investigated.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

21 since deposited on 21 Jul 2014
9 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 74207
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Aerosols, Atmospheric Ions, Particle Formation, Cluster Ions
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EARTH SCIENCES (040000) > ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES (040100) > Atmospheric Aerosols (040101)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Monitoring (050206)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 21 Jul 2014 22:14
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2016 04:31

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page