1Department of Physics, P.O. Box 64, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
2Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
3Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, 00101 Helsinki, Finland
4Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, Goethe-University of Frankfurt, Altenhöferallee 1, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
5Laboratory for Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute, 5232 Villigen, Switzerland
6Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zürich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
7Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, 70211 Kuopio, Finland
8Aerodyne Research Inc., Billerica, Massachusetts 01821, USA
Received: 02 Jan 2015 – Published in Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss.: 09 Apr 2015
Abstract. Atmospheric amines may play a crucial role in formation of new aerosol particles via nucleation with sulfuric acid. Recent studies have revealed that concentrations below 1 pptV can significantly promote nucleation of sulfuric acid particles. While sulfuric acid detection is relatively straightforward, no amine measurements to date have been able to reach the critical sub-pptV concentration range and atmospheric amine concentrations are in general poorly characterized. In this work we present a proof-of-concept of an instrument capable of detecting dimethyl amine (DMA) with concentrations even down to 70 ppqV (parts per quadrillion, 0.07 pptV) for a 15 min integration time. Detection of ammonia and amines other than dimethyl amine is discussed. We also report results from the first ambient measurements performed in spring 2013 at a boreal forest site. While minute signals above the signal-to-noise ratio that could be attributed to trimethyl or propyl amine were observed, DMA concentration never exceeded the detection threshold of ambient measurements (150 ppqV), thereby questioning, though not excluding, the role of DMA in nucleation at this location.
Revised: 04 Aug 2015 – Accepted: 17 Sep 2015 – Published: 01 Oct 2015
Sipilä, M., Sarnela, N., Jokinen, T., Junninen, H., Hakala, J., Rissanen, M. P., Praplan, A., Simon, M., Kürten, A., Bianchi, F., Dommen, J., Curtius, J., Petäjä, T., and Worsnop, D. R.: Bisulfate – cluster based atmospheric pressure chemical ionization mass spectrometer for high-sensitivity (< 100 ppqV) detection of atmospheric dimethyl amine: proof-of-concept and first ambient data from boreal forest, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 4001-4011, doi:10.5194/amt-8-4001-2015, 2015.