Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Marcelo I. Guzman


Aerosols affect climate change, the energy balance of the atmosphere, and public health due to their variable chemical composition, size, and shape. Aerosols from natural and anthropogenic sources can be primary organic aerosols (POA), which are directly emitted to the atmosphere, or secondary organic aerosols (SOA) that are formed from chemical reactions of gas-phase precursors. At variance with the well investigated formation of SOA from gas phase precursors, the chemistry of aqueous SOAs that contribute to the total SOA budget remains unknown. Field measurements have revealed that carboxylic, dicarboxylic and oxocarboxylic acids are abundant species present in SOAs. This thesis explores the fate of two such acids, pyruvic (PA) and glyoxylic (GA) acids surrogates of the oxocarboxylic acids in the atmosphere, in their cross reaction under solar irradiation and dark thermal aging. Mixtures of complex photoproducts are identified by ion chromatography (IC) with conductivity and electrospray (ESI) mass spectrometry (MS) detection, direct ESI-MS analysis in the negative ion mode, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) analysis including one-dimensional (1H- and 13C-NMR) and two-dimensional techniques such as gradient correlation spectroscopy (gCOSY) and heteronuclear single quantum correlation (HSQC). A reaction mechanism for the cross reaction is provided based on all experimental observations.