Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) particles result from the condensation of oxidized volatile organic compounds (VOC) and consist of a complex mixture that resists a complete analysis. We present a simple methodology for determining the quantities of aldehydes and ketones, alcohols, and carboxylic acids in such samples via derivatization and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with ultraviolet-visible absorption detection and tandem mass spectrometry (MS-MS). Such data are valuable in modeling the formation of laboratory-generated aerosols and in source apportionment of field samples. Calibration curves on standard samples, MS-MS transitions, including collisionally-induced dissociation (CID) products, and a quantitative examination of the specificity of the derivatization reagents toward multiple functional groups are presented for a series of aliphatic standard samples. Ultimately, this methodology enables the measurement of variations in the chemical nature of the oxygen within an SOA particle, essentially providing a distribution of functional groups.
Secondary organic aerosol, high-performance liquid chromatography, derivatization, tandem mass spectrometry