Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are of central importance in the atmosphere because of their close relation to air quality and climate change. As a significant sink for VOCs, the fate of VOCs via heterogeneous reactions may explain the big gap between field and model studies. These reactions play as yet unclear but potentially crucial role in atmospheric processes. In order to better evaluate this reaction pathway, we present the first specific review for the progress of heterogeneous reaction studies on VOCs, including carbonyl compounds, organic acids, alcohols, and so on. Our review focuses on the processes for heterogeneous reactions of VOCs under varying experimental conditions, as well as their implications for trace gas and HOx budget, secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation, physicochemical properties of aerosols, and human health. Finally, we propose the future direction for laboratory studies of heterogeneous chemistry of VOCs that should be carried out under more atmospherically relevant conditions, with a special emphasis on the effects of relative humidity and illumination, the multicomponent reaction systems, and reactivity of aged and authentic particles. In particular, more reliable uptake coefficients, based on the abundant elaborate laboratory studies, appropriate calibration, and logical choice criterion, are urgently required in atmospheric models.
Field measurements of atmospheric peroxides were obtained during the summer on two consecutive years over urban Beijing, which highlighted the impacts of aerosols on the chemistry of peroxide compounds and hydroperoxyl radicals (HO2). The major peroxides were determined to be hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), methyl hydroperoxide (MHP), and peroxyacetic acid (PAA). A negative correlation was found between H2O2 and PAA in rainwater, providing evidence for a conversion between H2O2 and PAA in the aqueous phase. A standard gas phase chemistry model based on the NCAR Master Mechanism provided a good reproduction of the observed H2O2 profile on non-haze days but greatly overpredicted the H2O2 level on haze days. We attribute this overprediction to the reactive uptake of HO2 by the aerosols, since there was greatly enhanced aerosol loading and aerosol liquid water content on haze days. The discrepancy between the observed and modeled H2O2 can be diminished by adding to the model a newly proposed transition metal ion catalytic mechanism of HO2 in aqueous aerosols. This confirms the importance of the aerosol uptake of HO2 and the subsequent aqueous phase reactions in the reduction of H2O2. The closure of HO2 and H2O2 between the gas and aerosol phases suggests that the aerosols do not have a net reactive uptake of H2O2, because the conversion of HO2 to H2O2 on aerosols compensates for the H2O2 loss. Laboratory studies for the aerosol uptake of H2O2 in the presence of HO2 are urgently required to better understand the aerosol uptake of H2O2 in the real atmosphere.
The ozonolysis of alkenes is considered to be an important source of atmospheric peroxides, which serve as oxidants, reservoirs of HOx radicals, and components of secondary organic aerosols (SOAs). Recent laboratory investigations of this reaction identified hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and hydroxymethyl hydroperoxide (HMHP) in ozonolysis of isoprene. Although larger hydroxyalkyl hydroperoxides (HAHPs) were also expected, their presence is not currently supported by experimental evidence. In the present study, we investigated the formation of peroxides in the gas phase ozonolysis of isoprene at various relative humidities on a time scale of tens of seconds, using a quartz flow tube reactor coupled with the online detection of peroxides. We detected a variety of conventional peroxides, including H2O2, HMHP, methyl hydroperoxide, bis-hydroxymethyl hydroperoxide, and ethyl hydroperoxide, and interestingly found three unknown peroxides. The molar yields of the conventional peroxides fell within the range of values provided in the literature. The three unknown peroxides had a combined molar yield of ~30% at 5% relative humidity (RH), which was comparable with that of the conventional peroxides. Unlike H2O2 and HMHP, the molar yields of these three unknown peroxides were inversely related to the RH. On the basis of experimental kinetic and box model analysis, we tentatively assigned these unknown peroxides to C2−C4 HAHPs, which are produced by the reactions of different Criegee intermediates with water. Our study provides experimental evidence for the formation of large HAHPs in the ozonolysis of isoprene (one of the alkenes). These large HAHPs have a sufficiently long lifetime, estimated as tens of minutes, which allows them to become involved in atmospheric chemical processes, e.g., SOA formation and radical recycling.