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Optical properties of humic material standards: Solution phase and aerosol measurements

TitleOptical properties of humic material standards: Solution phase and aerosol measurements
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsKwon D., Sovers M.J, Grassian VH, Kleiber P.D, Young M.A
Date Published2018/11
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2472-3452
Accession NumberWOS:000451101700003
Keywordsaerosol optical constants; atmospheric chemistry; black carbon; brown carbon; cavity ring; cavity ring down spectroscopy; chemistry; complex refractive-index; Geochemistry & Geophysics; HULIS; humic material; hygroscopic growth; light-absorption; organic-carbon; refractive index; spectroscopic properties; substances hulis; water-uptake

Aerosols generated from aqueous samples of readily obtainable humic material standards are often used as proxies for organic particulates found in the atmosphere in various investigations, such as consideration of radiative forcing effects. Here, we present results for the retrieved complex index of refraction, m = n + ik, at a wavelength of 403 nm for aerosols prepared from six humic material standards using a calibrated cavity ring-down spectrometer: a humic acid sodium salt, Pahokee peat humic and fulvic acids, Elliott soil humic and fulvic acids, and Suwannee river fulvic acid. In addition, we have conducted UV-vis spectrometric studies to measure the mass absorption coefficients, molar absorptivities, and absorption Angstrom exponents of bulk aqueous solutions of the humic materials. We find clear differences between the humic acid (HA) and fulvic acid (FA) samples with the HA having larger values for the imaginary part of the refractive index, k. The mean value for the HA samples is k = 0.170 while the mean is k = 0.037 for the FA materials. We have examined correlations between the retrieved refractive index and humic material characteristics obtained from spectroscopic and elemental analysis, including aromatic content and the oxygen-to-carbon atomic ratio, where the molar absorption coefficient yields the strongest correlation. Finally, we compare the humic material optical properties to those of authentic and laboratory generated organic carbon samples in order to assess the usefulness of these humic standards as proxies for light absorbing aerosol.

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