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Nature ; 581(7807): 184-189, 2020 05.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32405020


A list of authors and their affiliations appears at the end of the paper New-particle formation is a major contributor to urban smog1,2, but how it occurs in cities is often puzzling3. If the growth rates of urban particles are similar to those found in cleaner environments (1-10 nanometres per hour), then existing understanding suggests that new urban particles should be rapidly scavenged by the high concentration of pre-existing particles. Here we show, through experiments performed under atmospheric conditions in the CLOUD chamber at CERN, that below about +5 degrees Celsius, nitric acid and ammonia vapours can condense onto freshly nucleated particles as small as a few nanometres in diameter. Moreover, when it is cold enough (below -15 degrees Celsius), nitric acid and ammonia can nucleate directly through an acid-base stabilization mechanism to form ammonium nitrate particles. Given that these vapours are often one thousand times more abundant than sulfuric acid, the resulting particle growth rates can be extremely high, reaching well above 100 nanometres per hour. However, these high growth rates require the gas-particle ammonium nitrate system to be out of equilibrium in order to sustain gas-phase supersaturations. In view of the strong temperature dependence that we measure for the gas-phase supersaturations, we expect such transient conditions to occur in inhomogeneous urban settings, especially in wintertime, driven by vertical mixing and by strong local sources such as traffic. Even though rapid growth from nitric acid and ammonia condensation may last for only a few minutes, it is nonetheless fast enough to shepherd freshly nucleated particles through the smallest size range where they are most vulnerable to scavenging loss, thus greatly increasing their survival probability. We also expect nitric acid and ammonia nucleation and rapid growth to be important in the relatively clean and cold upper free troposphere, where ammonia can be convected from the continental boundary layer and nitric acid is abundant from electrical storms4,5.

Phys Chem Chem Phys ; 17(7): 5078-83, 2015 Feb 21.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25599521


The redox property of ceria is a key factor in the catalytic activity of ceria-based catalysts. The oxidation state of well-defined ceria nanocubes in gas environments was analysed in situ by a novel combination of near-ambient pressure X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) and high-energy XPS at a synchrotron X-ray source. In situ high-energy XPS is a promising new tool to determine the electronic structure of matter under defined conditions. The aim was to quantitatively determine the degree of cerium reduction in a nano-structured ceria-supported platinum catalyst as a function of the gas environment. To obtain a non-destructive depth profile at near-ambient pressure, in situ high-energy XPS analysis was performed by varying the kinetic energy of photoelectrons from 1 to 5 keV, and, thus, the probing depth. In ceria nanocubes doped with platinum, oxygen vacancies formed only in the uppermost layers of ceria in an atmosphere of 1 mbar hydrogen and 403 K. For pristine ceria nanocubes, no change in the cerium oxidation state in various hydrogen or oxygen atmospheres was observed as a function of probing depth. In the absence of platinum, hydrogen does not dissociate and, thus, does not lead to reduction of ceria.

Chemphyschem ; 14(11): 2419-25, 2013 Aug 05.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-23740601


Ozone adsorption and decomposition on metal oxides is of wide interest in technology and in atmospheric chemistry. Here, ozone-adsorption-induced band bending is observed on Ti- and Fe-oxide model surfaces under dry and humid conditions. Photoelectron spectroscopic studies indicate the effect of charge transfer to O3, which limits the surface coverage of the precursor to decomposition reactions. This is also consistent with the negative pressure dependence observed in previous studies. These results contribute to our fundamental understanding of ozone adsorption and decomposition mechanisms on metal oxides of environmental and technological relevance.