Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 104(D17):21275-21285, 1999. Paper abstract bibtex
Sodium chloride droplets with a median diameter of similar to 0.4 mu m were generated in the laboratory by atomizing an aqueous solution of NaCl under ambient conditions. Infrared extinction spectra of the aerosols under controlled relative humidity (RH) ranging from 15 to 95% were obtained. The extinction spectra contained both scattering and absorption components. In order to obtain an absorption spectrum of the condensed phase H2O associated with the particulates, it was necessary to subtract from the extinction spectra the absorption by H2O vapor and the scattering by the particulates. H2O vapor subtraction was accomplished by a standard technique. A procedure using Mie theory to subtract the scattering component of the extinction spectrum is described. The absorption spectra were used to determine the water content and structure of the particulates. Above similar to 50% RH the aerosols contain aqueous droplets that have not reached equilibrium with the water vapor during the timescale of the experiments (similar to 10 s). There is a sharp transition in water content at around 50% RH which is consistent with other measures of the recrystallization point. Below 50% RH the NaCl particles contain an anomalously large amount of H2O. Several different particle models are considered to explain the H2O content. The model in which the NaCl particles contain pockets of aqueous NaCI solution was found to be most consistent with the spectroscopic observations. The relevance of salt particle morphology and water content to atmospheric aerosol chemistry is discussed.