Insights into the Chemistry of Iodine New Particle Formation: The Role of Iodine Oxides and the Source of Iodic Acid

Publication date: 
Main author: 
Gómez Martín J.C.
IAA authors: 
Gómez Martín, Juan Carlos
Gómez Martín, Juan Carlos;Lewis, Thomas R.;James, Alexander D.;Saiz-Lopez, Alfonso;Plane, John M.C.
Journal of the American Chemical Society
Publication type: 
Iodine chemistry is an important driver of new particle formation in the marine and polar boundary layers. There are, however, conflicting views about how iodine gas-to-particle conversion proceeds. Laboratory studies indicate that the photooxidation of iodine produces iodine oxides (IxOy), which are well-known particle precursors. By contrast, nitrate anion chemical ionization mass spectrometry (CIMS) observations in field and environmental chamber studies have been interpreted as evidence of a dominant role of iodic acid (HIO3) in iodine-driven particle formation. Here, we report flow tube laboratory experiments that solve these discrepancies by showing that both IxOyand HIO3are involved in atmospheric new particle formation. I2Oymolecules (y = 2, 3, and 4) react with nitrate core ions to generate mass spectra similar to those obtained by CIMS, including the iodate anion. Iodine pentoxide (I2O5) produced by photolysis of higher-order IxOyis hydrolyzed, likely by the water dimer, to yield HIO3, which also contributes to the iodate anion signal. We estimate that ∼50% of the iodate anion signals observed by nitrate CIMS under atmospheric water vapor concentrations originate from I2Oy. Under such conditions, iodine-containing clusters and particles are formed by aggregation of I2Oyand HIO3, while under dry laboratory conditions, particle formation is driven exclusively by I2Oy. An updated mechanism for iodine gas-to-particle conversion is provided. Furthermore, we propose that a key iodine reservoir species such as iodine nitrate, which we observe as a product of the reaction between iodine oxides and the nitrate anion, can also be detected by CIMS in the atmosphere.