Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ocean’s Surface Could Have Big Impact On Air Quality, Study Says

04.03.2004


Certain ions bouncing around on the ocean’s surface and in droplets formed by waves may play a role in increasing ozone levels in the air we breathe, new research suggests.



These ions cover the surface of the sea in an ultra-thin blanket – about one-millionth the thickness of a sheet of paper. Researchers call this region the "interface."

Using a technique that employs highly accurate laser beams, chemists for the first time saw the actual structures formed by these halogen ions, or halides. They could see just how molecules of water surround these ions and also determine the halides’ whereabouts within the interfacial area.


This kind of information can help researchers predict which halides are more likely to react with other chemicals and ultimately form ozone, a naturally occurring gas which enhances the upper atmosphere’s defense against harmful ultraviolet rays.

"Interfacial halides have a significant effect on atmospheric chemistry which, in turn, could pose serious implications for respiratory health," said Heather Allen, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor of chemistry at Ohio State University. The study appears in the current issue of the Journal of Physical Chemistry – B.

Scientists have noted increased ozone levels in urban areas near seawater, and suspect that halides may play a key role.

"In marine areas, halides can react with other molecules that form ozone and ultimately increase ozone production in nearby urban areas," Allen said.

While the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere is essential for shielding the earth from some solar radiation, high amounts of ozone in the lower atmosphere can cause serious respiratory problems.

In a series of laboratory experiments, Allen and her colleagues studied water structures created by three halides commonly found in the marine interfacial zone – chloride, bromide and iodide.

The researchers mixed each halide with water to create experimental interfacial zones. They then projected two beams of laser light onto each solution in an attempt to see the structure and location of each halide in the interface.

Allen said that while these kinds of pristine interfaces wouldn’t be found on the ocean’s surface, where many more chemicals are at play, knowing the concentration and structure of interfacial halides could help scientists better understand atmospheric chemistry.

"Studying liquid surfaces is difficult," Allen said. "They may look flat, but they’re nowhere near flat on a molecular level. The addition of halides and other chemicals alters water’s surface structure."

When mixed with water, halogen salts become halides – charged particles that, by nature, are unstable and are looking to combine with other elements in order to regain their stability. Two of these halides – iodide and bromide – like to combine with ozone-forming chemicals.

"Even though the halides are only one part of the chemical mix in the interface, we didn’t really understand how important they were to atmospheric chemistry until we were able to separate out their individual characteristics," Allen said.

The researchers found that the concentrations of halides changed deeper into the interfacial layer. Iodide ions favored the surface of the interface, followed by bromide ions. Chloride ions were in abundance in the lower portion of the interface and did not affect the water’s surface structure. By virtue of their position in the interface, the iodide and bromide may have a greater impact on the air we breathe.

"Iodide turned out to be the most important halide when it came to surface reactions, because it had the highest concentration at the interfacial surface," said Allen, adding that just a little iodide or bromide can influence ozone creation. Chloride appears to be less likely to do so.

"Halogens compete with other radicals that are normally used to create ozone," Allen said. "But when enough halogen radicals are available, they actually react faster than do other radicals.

She said the next step is to examine the actual reactions between the halides and non-halogen molecules near the sea surface to see if they can actually determine how much ozone is formed and where it’s created in greatest quantities.

Allen conducted the study with fellow Ohio State researchers Dingfang Liu, Gang Ma and Lori Levering. The team received funding for this work from the National Science Foundation-funded Ohio State Environmental Molecular Science Institute and in part by Research Corporation, based in Tucson, Ariz.


Contact: Heather Allen, (614) 292-4707;
Allen@chemistry.ohio-state.edu
Written by Holly Wagner, (614) 292-8310; Wagner.235@osu.edu

Holly Wagner | OSU
Further information:
http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/marinair.htm

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>