Tip-enhanced Raman Spectroscopy of Atmospherically relevant Aerosol Nanoparticles
in: Analytical Chemistry (2016)
Atmospheric aerosol nanoparticles play a major role in many atmospheric processes and in particular in the global climate system. Understanding their formation by homogeneous or heterogeneous nucleation as well as their photochemical aging and atmospheric transformation is of utmost importance to evaluate their impact on atmospheric phenomena. Single particle analysis like tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS) opens access to a deeper understanding of these nanoparticles. Atmospherically relevant nanoparticles, formed above a simulated salt lake inside an aerosol smog-chamber were analyzed using TERS. TERS spectra of eleven nanoparticles were studied in detail. First results of TERS on atmospherically relevant aerosol nanoparticles reveal the presence of inorganic seed particles, a chemical diversity of equally sized particles in the nucleation mode and chemical transformation during photochemical aging. Therefore, single particle analysis by optical near-field spectroscopy such as TERS of atmospheric nanoparticles will significantly contribute to elucidate atmospheric nucleation, photochemical aging and chemical transformation processes by uncovering single particle based properties.