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Open AccessArticle

Enhancing Potential of Trimethylamine Oxide on Atmospheric Particle Formation

1
Department of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
2
Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2020, 11(1), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11010035
Received: 28 November 2019 / Revised: 18 December 2019 / Accepted: 21 December 2019 / Published: 27 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Chemistry and New Particle Formation)
The role of an oxidation product of trimethylamine, trimethylamine oxide, in atmospheric particle formation is studied using quantum chemical methods and cluster formation simulations. Molecular-level cluster formation mechanisms are resolved, and theoretical results on particle formation are confirmed with mass spectrometer measurements. Trimethylamine oxide is capable of forming only one hydrogen bond with sulfuric acid, but unlike amines, trimethylamine oxide can form stable clusters via ion–dipole interactions. That is because of its zwitterionic structure, which causes a high dipole moment. Cluster growth occurs close to the acid:base ratio of 1:1, which is the same as for other monoprotic bases. Enhancement potential of trimethylamine oxide in particle formation is much higher than that of dimethylamine, but lower compared to guanidine. Therefore, at relatively low concentrations and high temperatures, guanidine and trimethylamine oxide may dominate particle formation events over amines. View Full-Text
Keywords: trimethylamine oxide; sulfuric acid; particle formation; intermolecular interactions trimethylamine oxide; sulfuric acid; particle formation; intermolecular interactions
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Myllys, N.; Ponkkonen, T.; Chee, S.; Smith, J. Enhancing Potential of Trimethylamine Oxide on Atmospheric Particle Formation. Atmosphere 2020, 11, 35.

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