Recent developments in the mass spectrometry of atmospheric aerosols

Urs Baltensperger, Roberto Chirico, Peter F. DeCarlo, Josef Dommen, Kathrin Gaeggeler, Maarten F. Heringa, Mingli Li, André S H Prévôt, M. Rami Alfarra, Deborah S. Gross, Markus Kalberer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Atmospheric aerosol particles consist of a highly complex mixture of thousands of different compounds. Mass spectrometric techniques are well suited for the analysis of these particles, with each method of analysis having specific advantages and disadvantages. On-line techniques offer high time resolution and thus allow for the investigation of rapidly changing signals. They typically measure either single particles or the average non-refractory submicrometer aerosol. Off-line techniques are often coupled to chromatography or another technique separating for a specific property, which enhances their resolving power. Ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry allows for an unambiguous assignment of the elemental composition throughout the majority of the mass range typically measured in ambient aerosol samples, i.e. up to about m/z 400-600. The quantitative determination of individual compounds, or of classes of compounds, remains an important, but often unresolved, topic. Examples of applications of various mass spectrometric techniques are presented, both from laboratory and field studies. © IM Publications LLP 2010.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)389-395
    Number of pages6
    JournalEuropean Journal of Mass Spectrometry
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Aerosol
    • Aerosol mass spectrometer
    • Aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometer
    • Oligomers
    • Secondary organic aerosol
    • Smog chamber
    • Ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry


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