Complex Refractive Indices of Thin Films of Secondary Organic Materials by...

Liu, P., Y. Zhang, and S. Martin (2013), Complex Refractive Indices of Thin Films of Secondary Organic Materials by Spectroscopic Ellipsometry from 220 to 1200 nm, Environ. Sci. Technol., 47, 13594-13601, doi:10.1021/es403411e.

The complex refractive indices of three different types of secondary organic material (SOM) were obtained for 220 to 1200 nm using a variable angle spectroscopic ellipsometer. Aerosol particles were produced in a flow tube reactor by ozonolysis of volatile organic compounds, including the monoterpenes α-pinene and limonene and the aromatic catechol (benzene-1,2-diol). Optically reflective thin films of SOM were grown by electrostatic precipitation of the aerosol particles onto silicon substrates. The ellipsometry analysis showed that both the real and imaginary components of the refractive indices decreased with increasing wavelength. The real part n(λ) could be parametrized by the three-term form of Cauchy’s equation, as follows: n(λ) = B + C/λ2 + D/λ4 where λ is the wavelength and B, C, and D are fitting parameters. The real refractive indices of the three SOMs ranged from 1.53 to 1.58, 1.49− 1.52, and 1.48−1.50 at 310, 550, and 1000 nm, respectively. The catechol-derived SOM absorbed light in the ultraviolet (UV) range. By comparison, the UV absorption of the monoterpene-derived SOMs was negligible. On the basis of the measured refractive indices, optical properties were modeled for a typical atmospheric particle population. The results suggest that the wavelength dependence of the refractive indices can vary the Angstrom exponent by up to 0.1 across the range 310 to 550 nm. The modeled single-scattering albedo can likewise vary from 0.97 to 0.85 at 310 nm (UV−B). Variability in the optical properties of different types of SOMs can imply important differences in the relative effects of atmospheric particles on tropospheric photochemistry, as well as possible inaccuracies in some satellite-retrieved properties such as optical depth and mode diameter.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)