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Professor Alex Laskin and Team Receive New DOE Research Grant



A research team led by Alexander Laskin has been awarded a new grant through The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Atmospheric System Research (ASR) Program.

In partnership with Dr. Ryan Moffet from Sonoma Technology Inc, this project will investigate physico-chemical properties of atmospheric particles collected during field campaigns and how these airborne particles are involved in the hydrological cycle. The group will conduct analytical chemistry investigations focused on comprehensive chemical imaging and molecular characterization of atmospheric particles collected during the Surface-Atmosphere Integrated Field Laboratory (SAIL) and the Tracking Aerosol Convection Interactions ExpeRiment (TRACER) campaigns.

Their studies will examine elemental and molecular composition, mixing state, size, and internal structures of individual particles, along with molecular-level characterization of complex light-absorbing organic constituents in bulk aerosol and snows samples from SAIL campaign. By combining chemical analyses results with concurrent trace gases, meteorological, cloud, and in-situ aerosol measurements, the team will investigate relevant aerosol regimes, aerosol-precipitation interactions, and changes in surface energy balance induced by snowpack deposits.

Analytical chemistry measurements will be used to evaluate particle propensity to serve as cloud condensation nuclei and ice nucleating particles, assess aerosol radiative properties, and the link between snowpack albedo and atmospheric deposition of particulate matter. Successful completion of this project will advance scientific understanding of aerosols regimes, sources, aerosol-precipitation interactions, and atmosphere-land interactions.

Previously, the team advanced applications of modern chemical imaging and molecular characterization approaches for off-line characterization of atmospheric particles and their accumulated deposits in snowpack. These studies provided unique experimental insights on the nature and sources of particles, understanding their physical properties, atmospheric reactivity, and transformations.

Their most recent paper highlighted yet unrecognized influence of atmospheric deposits of water-soluble organic pollutants on the light absorption by snow and on triggering snow photochemistry. This and earlier reports by the team laid out foundation of the newly funded project.

Alex Laskin Group

A. Laskin Group (2020)

Laskin Figure

Chemically specific X-ray images (maps) of individual atmospheric particles with various internal composition (mixing states). Colors indicate experimentally defined chemical components.