Gas phase precursors to anthropogenic secondary organic aerosol: Using the Master Chemical Mechanism to probe detailed observations of 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene photo-oxidation
A detailed gas-phase photochemical chamber box model, incorporating the Master Chemical Mechanism (MCMv3.1) degradation scheme for the model anthropogenic aromatic compound 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene, has been used to simulate data measured during a series of aerosol chamber experiments in order to evaluate the mechanism under a variety of VOC/NOx conditions. The chamber model was used in the interpretation of comprehensive high (mass and time) resolution measurements of 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene and its photo-oxidation products recorded by a Chemical Ionisation Reaction Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (CIR-TOF-MS). Supporting gas and aerosol measurements have also enabled us to explore the ‘missing link’ between the gas and aerosol phases. Model-measurement comparisons have been used to gain insight into the complex array of oxygenated products formed, including the peroxide bicyclic ring opening products (Î±,Î²-unsaturated-Î³-dicarbonyls and furanones) and the O2-bridged peroxide bicyclic ring-retaining products. To our knowledge this is the first time such high molecular weight species, corresponding to various peroxide bicyclic products represented in the MCMv3.1, have been observed in the gas-phase. The model was also used to give insight into which gas-phase species were participating in SOA formation, with the primary and secondary peroxide products, formed primarily under low NOx conditions, identified as likely candidates.