Carbonaceous compounds comprise a substantial fraction of atmospheric particulate matter (PM). Particulate organic material can be emitted directly into the atmosphere or formed in the atmosphere when the oxidation products of certain volatile organic compounds condense. Such products have lower volatilities than their parent molecules as a result of the fact that adding oxygen and/or nitrogen to organic molecules reduces volatility. Formation of secondary organic PM is often described in terms of a fractional mass yield, which relates how much PM is produced when a certain amount of a parent gaseous organic is oxidized. The theory of secondary organic PM formation is outlined, including the role of water, which is ubiquitous in the atmosphere. Available experimental studies on secondary organic PM formation and molecular products are summarized.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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