Aerosols are important components of the air, which play an important role for atmospheric chemistry, climate and human health. The groups

in the section "Aerosols" investigate together the sources, the chemical composition and cloud droplet activation of atmospheric aerosols. Common are process studies of organic aerosol (OA) emission and formation, which we perform in interlaced simulation chambers (SAPHIR, the plant chamber SAPHIR-PLUS, and the new continuously-stirred flow reactor SAPHIR*) and in field studies (Meteorological Tower at FZJ, airship Zeppelin NT).

Research Topics

Organic aerosols (OA) are a challenge for reliable predictions of future climate development, because major emissions arise from vegetation thus are coupled to climate and climate warming. The section "Aerosols" continuous the investigation of secondary aerosol formation by oxidation of real plant emissions (Kiendler-Scharr et al. Nature, 2009, Mentel et al., ACP, 2009, 2013, Hohaus et al., AMT 2016 ).

We elucidate OA formation with foci on non-classical emissions (stress induced VOC emissions), non-classical pathways (ultrafast formation of highly oxidized molecules by autoxidation) and oxidative aerosol ageing (isotopic clock). Key methods are based on mass spectrometry in gas phase, particulate phase and for partitioning, because of the volatility of organic aerosol components. Stable isotopy provides complementary information about aerosol forming reactions and degradation of organic markers in the particulate phase.

Besides classical concentration and size distribution measurements of particles and their cloud droplet activation, we are specializing in mass spectrometric methods, which span from the measurements in gas phase (API-TOF-CIMS) and particulate phase (HR-TOF-AMS), over partitioning (TAG-AMS, ACM-PTR-MS) to the measurements of natural stable isotopes (2D-GC-IR-MS).


PD Dr. Thomas F. Mentel


Building 05.2 / Room 3027

+49 2461/61-6921



Measurement techniques
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Last Modified: 02.04.2024