Fatty acids found on the surface of water droplets react with sunlight to form organic molecules, a new study reports, essentially uncovering a previously unknown form of photolysis. The results could affect models that account for aerosol particles, including models related to climate.
Conventional wisdom holds that carboxylic acids and saturated fatty acids, which are abundant throughout the environment, only react with hydroxyl radicals and are not affected by sunlight.
Light on the air-sea interface. This material relates to a paper that appeared in the 12 August 2016, issue of Science, published by AAAS. The paper, by S. Rossignol at Université Lyon in Villeurbanne, France, and colleagues was titled, "Atmospheric photochemistry at a fatty acid-coated air-water interface."
Credit: Christian George, CNRS-IRCELYON
However, these previous conclusions are based on observations of the molecules in a gas phase, or dissolved in solution. Here, Stéphanie Rossignol and colleagues studied nonanoic acid (NA) during a liquid-gas phase, as the molecules interact with surface water.
When the researchers studied NA along the surface of a liquid while it was exposed to UV light, they observed the formation of organic compounds.
They conducted a series of experiments to adjust for possible contamination, concluding that NA is indeed responsible for the observed photochemistry resulting in these compounds.
Based on the type of photochemistry observed, the authors say that similar reactions may be common to all carboxylic acid molecules.
Considering how common fatty acids are in the environment, such photochemical processing on aerosols or other aqueous sites could have a significant impact on local ozone and particle formation, the authors say.
In a related Perspective, Veronica Vaida notes that these previously unappreciated secondary organic products "will affect secondary organic aerosol mass, composition, and optical properties, in turn defining the particle's overall effect on climate, air quality, and health."
Science Press Package | EurekAlert!
Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides
16.07.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology
The secret sulfate code that lets the bad Tau in
16.07.2018 | American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.07.2018 | Life Sciences
16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences